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Foreplay 4 

BOOK ONE: The Sinister Current In The East 

I. Varna Marga — Foundations Of The Left-Hand Path 17 

II. Awakening The Serpent — Initiation In The Left-Hand Path 59 

III. In The Temple Of The Nine Gates — Ecstatic Rites Of The Left-Hand Path 

94 BOOK TWO: The Sinister Current In The West 

IV. In the Beginning Was The Word — Decoding The Language Of Western Magic 146 

V. At The Left Hand Of Christ — The Holy Whore And The Gnostic Magus 168 

VI. Eastern Secrets And Satanic Pleasures — The Left-Hand Path And The Modern Magical Revival 

VII. Sex Sex Sex & 666 — Aleister Crowley: Adept Of The Left-Hand Path? 259 

Cults Of The Scarlet Woman - The Left-Hand Path In The Modern 



BOOK THREE: The Sinister Current in Action 

Sex-Magical Self-Initiation — A Crash Course For The Kali-Yuga 



Of Orgies Ancient & Modern — Group Sex Magic 



Pain/Lust - The Rites Of Dominance And Submission 

About The Cover/About The Authors 


Select Bibliography 



Nikolas & Zeena Schreck 

ISBN 1-84068 -061 -X 

Published 2002 by Creation Books 

Copyright © Nikolas & Zeena Schreck 2002 

All world rights reserved 

All quotations by Aleister Crowley are copyright © Ordo Templi Orientis. 

Cover: The Robing Of The Bride by Max Ernst (ADAGP/SPADEM, Paris). 

For the Order of Babalon, the Order of Sekhmet and their allies. 

Dedicated to the Memories of Baron Julius Evola, who began the 

work of awakening the left-hand path in the West, and Cameron, who 

served as avatar for the West's sleeping Shakti force. Our grateful 

appreciation to the many individuals who assisted us during the 

research and preparation phases of this book, including D. M. 

Saraswati, Janet Saunders, Ananda Parikh, Kevin Rockhill, Brian G. 

Lopez, Michael A. Putman, Curtis Harrington, Kevin Fordham, Nancy 

Hayes, Lorand Bruhacs, Forrest J Ackerman, Peter-R. Koenig, Dr. 

Stephan Hoeller, Walter Robinson, Laurie Lowe, Jeanne Forman, Dr. 

George Grigorian, The Vienna and Paris WO Dens, the staff at the 

Berlin Staatsbibliothek, Tibet House, Leon Wild, 

and James Williamson. 


The sexual and magical activities described in this book are intended exclusively for 

application by adults who have reached the age of majority, and should only be 

performed on a consensual basis by individuals possessing sound physical and 

mental health. Recommendations suggesting that the reader undertake proper 

training in physical activities that might prove injurious are intended seriously. 

Neither the authors nor the publisher of this book can assume any liability or 

responsibility for any harm that might come to the reader as a consequence of the 

experiments outlined herein. 









Let's talk about the most mysterious subject of all sex. 

Sex is an electromagnetic phenomenon. 

William S. Burroughs 

Desire is the great force. 

- Andre Breton 

Das Ewigweibliche zieht uns hinan. 

(The Eternal Feminine draws us onwards.) 

Dr. Faust, in Goethe's Faust II 



The book before you is a guide in the sense that it will escort you on 

a journey. 

The route we will be taking passes through vistas of strange beauty 

and across perilous chasms. It is known as the left-hand path. Few have 

traveled this road, and fewer still have reached its final, distant destination. 

Unfortunately, most previously available maps of this mysterious 

terrain have been drafted by those who have never even stepped upon the 

path. Yet they'll warn you of the terrible dangers confronted along the way, 

suggesting that its arduous passage only leads to the darkest of dead-ends. 

Such faulty cartographers will caution you that the only souls to be 

encountered on this ill-lit thoroughfare are fools, lunatics, scoundrels, and 

thieves. (Indeed, there may be some truth to that last admonition, but the born 

adventurer will not be dissuaded so easily.) 

There are other maps, offered by slightly less timid souls, that bear a 

closer semblance to reality. However, these guides breezily point out only the 

most comforting tourist attractions on the sight-seeing itinerary. All dark 
alleys, disreputable neighborhoods, and red light districts are kept safely out 
of view, deemed unfit for public consumption. Such squeamishness permits 

the explorer only a carefully expurgated outlook. Furthermore, the 
specifications found on this sort of map are frequently so convoluted that the 

traveler doesn't know which end is up. 

Finally, there's the map drafted by those who declare themselves not 

only as tour guides, but proudly lay claim to this left-turning way in its 

entirety, hailing it as the very best place to be. However, should the unwary 

wayfarer consult such maps for even the simplest directions, it immediately 

becomes apparent that there's been some confusion. This mix-up, it seems, is 

due to a simple but enduring misappropriation of nomenclature. The area on 

these maps marked so conspicuously as "the left-hand path" turns out, on 

closer inspection, to be a different path altogether. 

Demons Of The Flesh, designed in part as a corrective to the false 

leads and detours described above, charts this hitherto misinterpreted path 

from a very different perspective. On our map, we clearly show you the 

complete road plan in all of its three-dimensional topography and 

complexity, starting from its remote ancient Eastern point of origination. We 

have also broken beneath the visible surface of this causeway to reveal the 

hidden archeological layers of the sinister current as it has coursed through 

time. Accompanying you through this voyage, we provide practical 

suggestions for navigating the leftward road in a contemporary Western 

world that provides no reliable compass. 

But enough metaphors about maps and paths. Let's face it, you 

picked this book up to read about sex. 

And there's certainly plenty of sex to be found in these pages, 

chronicling an infinite diversity of erotic experience. From the alchemy of 

menstrual blood and semen to the ritual worship of the vagina. Sex with 

promiscuous monks and sacred whores, from Tibet to Babylon. Necrophiliac 

sex in cremation grounds. Coprophiliac sex in Sicily. Incestuous sex in India. 

Vampiric sex in China. The orgasm as sacrifice. The orgasm prolonged. Sex 

with Goddesses. Psychic transexualism. Sex with disembodied beings. 

Sexual slavery. Sexual mastery. Sexual trance. Ancient Egyptian anal sex 

between Set and his nephew Horus. Oral sex. Autoerotic sex. Group sex. 

Telepathic sex. All kinds of sex sects. Tantric sex. Gnostic sex. Satanic sex. 

Sex with young virgins. Sex with the elderly. Sex with the wives of other 

men. Even sex with Jesus. 

However, the multi-bodied panorama of polymorphous delight that 

seeps from this book is not presented merely to stimulate the jaded or titillate 

ennuye voluptuaries with novel deviations they have yet to try out. It's 

important to establish that there is a significant difference between the 

profound pleasure of sexuality enjoyed for its own sake as a physiological 

and aesthetic experience, and sexuality utilized for authentic magical or 

initiatory purposes - the nucleus of the left-hand path. Taken out of their 

proper context, the outwardly salacious tidbits pressed between these pages 

can - and probably will - be misinterpreted if this distinction is not taken into 


At the same time, it must be pointed out that the whole topic of 

sexual magic has been hedged about with a tremendous amount of hypocrisy, 

emanating both from practicing sex magicians and those merely observing 

their activities. For instance, many a curiosity-seeker has casually poked 

around the most superficial level of erotic magic, hoping to learn a few sex 

tips to spice up a lackluster love life. For the most part, this misguided 

playing at sex magic is merely a waste of time, generating little in the way of 

physical excitement, and absolutely nothing in the way of magic. But some 

self-righteous sex magicians have taken the school-marmish position that this 

fairly common phenomenon is "immoral" or "spiritually harmful", or even 

that sex magic must be performed without a scintilla of lust or emotion to be 

legitimate. Conversely, the non-magician may snicker at the whole idea of 

erotic magic, dismissing it as some sort of dirty joke, refusing to accept that 

sex magicians are doing anything more profound than satiating their ordinary 

carnal appetites under the guise of esoteric doctrine. 

Behind these sanctimonious attitudes lays the horrific banality to 

which Eros has been reduced in the modern Western world. 

In this spirit, some of our readers might imagine that a guide to lefthand 

path sex magic will provide the furtive cheap thrills of thinly veiled 


pornography. Literally speaking, that much maligned word pornography, 

from the Greek porno (whore) and graphia (writing) simply means "to write 

about whores". So for those of you who were fervently hoping that this book 

would be pornographic, there is indeed enough writing about whores in these 

pages to technically qualify. Of course, the whores we will be concerned with 

are the conveyors of that long-lost ars amatoria of sacred prostitution. If 

prostitution once served a noble and even sacred function, then why not a 

sacred pornography? Such a form would be something far more subversive 

and powerful than the formulaic repetition of conventions we usually 
associate with the genre. The British author Angela Carter, whose cruel tales 
were usually tinged with an unsettling and surreal sexuality, once suggested 

the possibilities: 

"The moral pornographer would be an artist who uses pornographic material 

as a part of the acceptance of the logic of a world of absolute sexual license 

for all the genders, and projects a model of the way such a world might work. 

His business would be the total demystification of the flesh and the 

subsequent revelation, through the infinite modulations of the sexual act... the 

pornographer has it in his power to become a terrorist of the imagination, a 

sexual guerilla whose purpose is to overturn our most basic notions of these 

relations, to reinstate sexuality as a primary mode of being rather than a 

specialized area of vacation from being and to show that the everyday 

meetings in the marriage bed are parodies of their own pretensions." 

In many ways, Carter's description of the taboo-overturning "sexual guerilla" 

who totally demystifies the flesh makes for an excellent introduction to the 

work of the left-hand path sex magician that this book illustrates. For the 

magi of the left-hand path, sexuality is even more than "a primary mode of 

being" - the altered state of extreme erotic ecstasy is a potentially divine 

mode of being, the chaotic dance of two magnetically attracted opposite 

energies that allows for the creation of a third power transcending the human. 

The couple that unleashes this hidden, psychically remanifesting power of the 

left-hand path within their orgasm-yoked organisms to its full intensity will 

find it difficult to return to the pre-programmed existence they once led. The 

man and woman who even once taste the freedom of the left-hand path, as 

expressed through its self-deifying sexual rites, have exited the human game 

as it is normally played. 

If the left-hand path is dangerous - a point both its detractors and its 

advocates have agreed upon - one of its primary hazards is the peril of 

freedom in a world almost instinctively committed to crushing liberty in 

whatever form it might appear. All autocracies have held sway by severely 

curbing the full development of sexual power in their subjects. The left-hand 


path, a method of consciously activating levels of erotic energy almost 

unknown in conventional sexual relations, must be viewed as a threat to any 

hierarchy that seeks to bridle the development of man into god. The sexual 

gnosis of the left-hand path has the potential to forge heroic, self-determined 

individuals from the bleating meat of the human herd. 

The eccentric (some would say insane) psychologist Wilhelm Reich's 

researches into the untapped mysteries of the orgasm on human 

consciousness partially accord with the ancient teachings of the left-hand 

path. In his The Mass Psychology Of Fascism, Reich recognized the threat 

that total erotic freedom would pose to any societal control mechanism. In 

unconscious keeping with the left-hand path veneration of Shakti, the divine 

sexual power of woman, he wrote: "Sexually awakened women, affirmed and 

recognized as such, would mean the complete collapse of the authoritarian 

ideology." George Orwell, in his dystopic novel 1984, which remains an 

acute diagnosis for the modern cult of control, also understood that the 

limitation of sexual power was one of the most insidious weapons of 

autocracy. Orwell has Julia, the heroine of 1984, realize the secret of Eros: 

"Unlike Winston, [she] had grasped the inner meaning of the Party's sexual 

puritanism. It was not merely that the sex instinct created a world of its own 

which was outside the Party's control and which therefore had to be 

destroyed if possible. What was more important was that sexual privation 

induced hysteria, which was desirable because it could be transformed into 

war-fever and leader-worship." 

The adept of the left-hand path, radically individuated and separated 

from the delusions of the crowd through systematic transgression of taboo 

and transcendent sexuality's "world of its own" is unlikely to be swept up in 

the unthinking passions of the masses. In the first historical manifestation of 

the sinister current that we will investigate, the Varna Marga of India, this 

element of social defiance becomes evident. The Indian left-hand path 

initiate's refusal to follow his or her society's religious restrictions against sex 

between the castes, the drinking of wine, the consumption of certain 

"impure" foods, is the foundation upon which he or she eventually 

transgresses the human state and becomes divine. In more extreme left-hand 

path sects, such as the Aghori, the transcendence of deeply seated internal 
taboos goes much further. Although this critical factor of societal subversion 
has been either ignored or whitewashed by more temperate interpreters of the 

left-hand path than ourselves, you will find that this refusal to play by the 

rules dictated by others is one of the universally definitive factors separating 

the left-hand path from milder, less antagonistic forms of sex magic. 

It would be easy to misinterpret this defiance of social and religious 

custom as a purely political statement. However, once freed from one set of 

psychic blinkers, the left-hand path magician does not simply trade them in 

for a new set. He or she strives to reach a state of mind in which all forms of 

orthodoxy must be questioned and rejected. 

Even at this early stage, the perceptive reader will have realized that 

when we speak of left-hand sex magic, we are not concerned solely with the 

workings of the genitalia for some sorcerous purpose. Yes, its central tool of 

illumination is awakened sexuality. But the left-hand path tradition actually 

provides an approach to every aspect of existence, a philosophy - or "love of 

Sophia" - that set into action can transform the entirety of the human 

psychobiological structure, not just his or her penis or vagina. 

One might say that left-hand path sex magic is a form of initiation 

consciously designed for a hopelessly fucked up world. The left-hand path 

philosophy posits that it is the method best suited for the apocalyptic and out 

of kilter times in which mankind currently exists, an era the traditional Indian 

left-hand path discipline recognizes as the Kali Yuga. Exceptional measures 

are needed to awaken to full consciousness under such inauspicious 

conditions. Step one is to reject the sorrow and despair such times may 

inspire and joyfully embrace the chaos of the disintegrating world, this 

shimmering and illusory spectacle that emanates from the vulva of dark Kali. 

And one of the great tools of transformation over which Kali presides is the 

flesh, especially as it is subjected to the flame of desire. 

Outside of the left-hand path tradition proper, pre-Christian 

antiquity clearly acknowledged that the transformative and uncanny states of 

mind attainable through sexuality partake of the realm of the Gods. In fact, 

many common terms denoting sexuality in modern language still bear the 

indelible traces of that ancient appreciation of the magical - even religious - 

nature of human sexuality. The erotic hearkens back to the god Eros, 

aphrodisiac refers to the goddess Aphrodite, just as venereal is derived from 

Venus. The magical origins of the word "fetish" are also fairly well known - 

it derives from the Portuguese feitico, for sorcery or charm. Who can deny 

that the powerful hold in which a sexual fetish enthralls the fetishist is 

anything but a fascination, a glamour, entirely magical in nature? The lefthand 

path, in all of its forms, consciously returns Eros to the formerly exalted 

place it once held in human life, recognizing the dormant divinity of sex even 

in practices recoiled from as sordid and shameful by the profane. 

Underneath its sometimes contradictory examination of sex-magical 

symbols and premises from various cultural and religious traditions, Demons 

Of The Flesh postulates a universal biological phenomenon seemingly 

hardwired into human consciousness and sexuality. As we shall see, the 

Indian Tantric phrase left-hand path describes this psychosexual anomaly 

with great precision. However, we also use the phrase "sinister current", 

which indicates its non-indigenous, omnipresent existence, not only in a 

specific cultural tradition, but as a force located in the body itself. 


We've now indicated how central a role sex plays to the left-hand 

path, but presumably, you may be wondering where the "magic" referred to 

in the sub-title of this book comes in. Just as the god-like power inherent in 

sexual pleasure has been diminished to its currently debased state, so has the 

once royal art of magic suffered a similar decline in the modern world. If 

one does not immediately associate the word with show business trickery 

and prestidigitation, then it conjures up the vulgar consumer occultist, 
dressed up in the obligatory "magic" robe, credulously reciting doctrinaire 
"magic" spells, usually hoping in vain to summon up the money he or she 

lacks the skills to earn, or to attract a given object of desire without 
acquiring the social graces to even strike up a conversation. In other words, 

magic, at least in the Western world, has become an exotic plaything for 

losers, the acting out of delusive wishful thinking to achieve transient goals 

more efficiently realized through the mundane development of personal 


Magic, from the left-hand path perspective outlined here, is far 

removed from the crude commodity it has become in the modern occult 

milieu. We are focused here on the Great Work, the sex-alchemical 

transformation of human to demi-divinity, not the development of a few 

parlous parlor tricks. In the Indian left-hand path, the greatest magicians are 

the divya or the bodhisattva, who need not resort to anything resembling a 

ritual to create radical transformation of maya, the substance of which mind 

and matter are both composed. Magical powers, as understood in the West, 

are sometimes a consequence of erotic initiation, but they are secondary to 

the radical remanifestation of self to higher modes of being which is the 

raison d'etre of the left-hand path. In the ancient Hellenic and Gnostic 

traditions we will also consider as expressions of the sinister current, a divya 

is known as a magus, a being whose magical power is based on the internal 

cultivation of the self to daemonic levels of consciousness. 

As this state of being is the goal of all sinister current sex magicians, 

we do not provide the reader with presto-change-o spells, curses or scripted 

rituals. We also don't furnish you with the names of demons guaranteed to 

fulfill your every command nor sure-fire charms that will snare the targets of 

your lust. If you're gullible enough to be searching for such instant panaceas, 

our emphasis on the importance of self-directed magical work as an internal 

process of self-deification will probably be extremely frustrating. This book 

will make clear the perennial left-hand path methods that activate the eternal 

course of development taken by the divya or the magus of the left-hand path, 

but it deliberately refrains from leading the reader mechanically through a 

checklist of external gimmickry. You won't find anything like: 1) Open 

vagina. 2) Insert penis. 3) Say the magic word with conviction. 

That sort of thing is useless, not to say an insult to the intelligence of 


the budding magician. Dogmatic instructions, to our experience, cannot 

make for great magicians - they only prove that the reader can obediently 

follow commands. Such short cuts and simplifications provide none of the 

necessary friction for the student of the left-hand path, without which none 

of the abrasive effort required to initiate one's self can be sparked. Demons 

Of The Flesh, which we are immodest enough to classify as a Tantra for the 

twenty-first century, is constructed to provide this friction, rather than to 

distill the left-hand path into an easy-to-swallow mother's milk for the 

suckling. For this reason, although practical methods of procedure are 

suggested, this is not so much a "how-to" book - it's focus is on "why-to." In 

our opinion, one mark of the true left-hand path magician is an ability to 

integrate complex symbolic systems, synthesize them with personal 

experience, and create from this synthesis his or her own unique direction on 

the left-hand path. 

One commonly held, but erroneous, belief about sex magic, left-hand 

path or otherwise, is that its practice consists of nothing more than making a 

strong wish focused upon during orgasm. If that were the case, one would 

hardly need an entire book about the subject - that last sentence would 

suffice for one's complete sex-magical education. This is actually only one of 

the least sophisticated of sex-sorcerous methods, and while the left-hand path 

magician may experiment with it as a means of testing the insubstantiality of 

all mental phenomena, it cannot compare to the far more essential left-hand 

path methods of sexual illumination, such as Kundalini, that reshape 

consciousness to supernal levels of realization that entirely transcend the 

puerile "wishing well" model of popular sex magic. 

Perhaps the prevalence of this idea, even among those who should 

know better, is based on the fact that so much has been written about Aleister 

Crowley's "sex magick", which in his own everyday practice did indeed 

consist of little more than coordinating wishing and coming. But Crowley, 

despite his posthumous ascendance as the most recognizable "brand name" in 

the field of Western sex magic, is not the be-all and end-all of sex magic. The 

idea of the magical orgasm did not simply spontaneously burst forth from 

Crowley's loins one day. In fact, as we will show, the now obscure pseudo- 

Rosicrucian precursors of Crowley, such as the African-American sex 

magician P.B. Randolph and the German spermophage Theodor Reuss 

originated many of the ideas the Great Beast 666 is commonly thought to 

have "discovered", just as several of his contemporaries and antecedents 

developed those same ideas in more pertinent directions than the Master 

himself. We shall also attempt to resolve the thorny question of whether 

Crowley is indeed a magus of the left-hand path at all. 

In this last regard, it must be said that the practice of sex magic alone 

does not qualify a magician for the left-hand path. Every occult nutcase who 

ever proclaimed his or her orgasm to be a magical event of the first order is 

not necessarily an initiate of the left-hand path. Likewise, the absence of 
sexuality in one's magical practice is a sure sign that one is no longer dealing 

with the left-hand path in its classical sense. 

We place left-hand sex magic in a historical context by analyzing 

some of the colorful historical figures who have practiced orgasmic 

thaumaturgy in the modern West. But we must make clear that it is not our 

intention to inspire our readers to emulate the lives and legends of these 

individuals. The left-hand path is firmly focused on self-deification - the 

fannish idolization and hero worship inculcated by so much occult literature 

for the "all-stars" of yesteryear is wholly out of place with the goals of the 

left-hand path. If there is an appropriate left-hand path attitude to be taken 

with the famous and infamous sex-magical teachers of the past, it is surely 

irreverence, not pious sanctification. In fact, in the process of transforming 

yourself from human to divine consciousness through erotic initiation, a 

healthy irreverence directed at your own pretensions is mandatory. 

The world is filled with people who have devoured a thousand 

magical books and yet have never performed a single genuine act of magic. 

So prevalent is this phenomenon that the syndrome has even earned itself a 

name: the armchair magician. It is certainly not our intention to breed 

through this book something even worse - the bedside sex magician. 

Assuming that you are reading this as an introductory overview of left-hand 

path sex magic, and not simply as a perverse amusement, the principles 

outlined herein should be enacted in your own flesh, through action in the 

real world, as opposed to cerebral abstraction. 

Of course, there have been other books that have attempted to 

communicate something of the mysteries of sex magic. However, from our 

point of view, the majority of these earlier volumes have missed the mark. 

We would like to think that our aim will be more precise. For the most part, 

previously available sex magic texts have softened the piercing power 

available to the erotic magician into an ooey, gooey froth of insipid 

romanticism. Most recent offerings have been geared towards the weak, 

sniveling sensibilities of the so-called New Age movement. Such fainthearted 

guides have proffered an utterly defanged and domesticated sexual 

magic to their readers. This volume will sit uneasily on the shelf with those 

gentler, less direct works. If your understanding of sex magic has been 

gleaned only from that unsound body of work, we hope that this book serves 

as a purging antidote to previous misconceptions. 

Not the least of the misconceptions we have targeted is the entirely 

incoherent and historically invalid understanding of the exact nature of the 

left-hand path that has prevailed for the past century or so in the Western 

world. One of the challenges in writing this book was to properly define a 


subject which so many already think they understand, but in fact do not - at 

least, not by any objective standard we can identify In attempting to set the 

record straight on what the left-hand path is, we are only beginning the 

greater task of establishing a congruous working model of the sinister 

current in the West. Built, as it must be, upon the ruins of the confusion of 

the past, that working model may well take another fifty to a hundred years 

to truly take hold. 

Although we ourselves are practicing left-hand path sex magicians, 

this book is in no sense designed as a medium of conversion or as a 

recruitment device. As we will make clear, the left-hand path is, for all of its 

anti-authoritarian elements, very much an elitist form of initiation. By this, 

we do not mean that left-hand path adepts necessarily consider themselves to 

be superior to the uninitiated - only that the sinister current is not for all, and 

can never be a path for the millions. Reading this book may well clarify for 

you that you would be ill-suited for this school of initiation. 

Sexuality is the expression in the material world of the metaphysical 

concept of polarity - the yin and yang, Shiva and Shakti, the rose and the 

cross, the union and transcendence of opposites. Demons Of The Flesh is the 

very thing it describes, in that it can be understood as a sex magic working 

in its own right. As a brain-child created by the polarized erotic energies of 

male and female sexuality generated by its authors, this book illustrates how 

the combined sexual force of two magicians can create a daemonic third 

entity. By shaping the collaborative words and perspectives of two 

magicians into a cohesive whole, we have aimed to bring into being a 

magical elemental that takes on a certain life of its own, independent of its 

creators. Whenever two magicians work together, the creation of such an 

elemental force is the result; William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin referred 

to this phenomenon as "the third mind". Just as left-hand path erotic magic 

creates a numinous space in which the very different energies of male and 

female can communicate and see beyond the limits of gender, so does the 

twofold voice of this book speak from a viewpoint that transcends male and 


The Sinister Current in the East 




Foundations Of The Left-Hand Path 

The Fucking Buddha: A Left-Hand Path Parable 

A left-hand path tale from India's Tantric lore illustrates perfectly the contrast 

between world-denying religious practices and the ecstatic methods required 

for liberation in this Kali Yuga. Encoded in this narrative are almost all of the 

fundamental postulates of left-hand path initiation. 

It concerns the adventures of one Vasistha, emulated as the austere 

epitome of the yogi revered by orthodox Hindus. Vasistha, a wise Brahmin, is 

utterly respectable, sober, and law-abiding, embodying the very essence of 

adherence to convention and world-negation. For six thousand years, he has 

lived the agonizing life of a self -torturing ascetic, a paragon of sexless, 
desire-free virtue, meditating faithfully and in perfect accordance with Hindu 
rules and regulations. And yet, despite all of his strict asceticism and sanctity, 
the object of his devotion, the Great Goddess, has never deigned to appear to 


Exasperated at his failure, Vasistha loses his celebrated composure, 

becoming so angry that he longs to curse the elusive Goddess who has 

resisted his faithful and pious entreaty. 

Vasistha's Brahmin father compels his son to resist this blasphemous 

act and to try again, although he suggests that Vasistha has been barking up 

the wrong tree, and does not even understand the Goddess properly. The Sage 

perseveres, following his father's advice to meditate on the divine being as 

the magical feminine substance, illuminating as ten thousand suns, from 

which the universe is made; the breathtakingly beautiful and tender spirit that 

filled the Bodhi tree under whose branches the Indian prince Gautama 
Siddartha became the Buddha. (The Bodhi tree can be compared to that other 
mythical Tree of Knowledge from which the serpent gave the forbidden fruit 

of knowledge to Eve.) 

This approach works better. The Great Goddess finally appears to the 

sage in one of her many shakti forms of Sarasvati, only to provide him with 

the disconcerting news that he has completely wasted the past six thousand 

years meditating according to the Vedic laws of solemnity and bodily denial. 

Instead, she tells the bewildered yogi, he must learn the Kaula teaching of 

illumination (the Kaula is one of the earliest known left-hand path sects). 

Were he to stick to the traditional methods of asceticism and yoga, the 

Goddess laughs, he would never become liberated enough to gain even a 

momentary view of her divine feet; let alone her full divine presence. 

"My worship is without austerity and pain!" the spellbinding Shakti 

proclaims. Before vanishing, She bids Vasistha to journey to the Himalayas, 

where he will be taught the true way to liberation for this age. 

Devoutly following the command of the Goddess, Vasistha voyages 

to a hidden kingdom in the Himalayas known as Mahacina. There, the ascetic 

discovers no less a personage than the deity Vishnu, who has taken the form 

of the Buddha himself, accompanied by several students. But to Vasistha's 

horror, the bleary-eyed Buddha and his disciples are visibly drunk, naked, 

and in an obvious state of sexual arousal. 

Vasistha is scandalized to witness the Buddha and his pupils 

brazenly indulging in perpetual intercourse with a number of ravishing 

female companions. Beneath their wantonly disheveled long hair, these 

women wear nothing more than gently tinkling bells which ring with the 

erotic rhythm of their coupling. They are the graceful devis, whose sexual 

embrace imparts the highest initiation. 

Vasistha, outraged, lectures the Buddha on the error of his ways, 

prissily fussing that his shameful actions contradict every holy teaching of 

God and man. Had not the Buddha himself taught that kama (desire) was the 

cause of all human suffering? The chuckling Buddha drunkenly refutes this, 

observing that Vasistha is the one who is in error, for he has confused outer 

appearance for reality. The intoxicated sexuality he and his disciples are 

celebrating are ritual tools to illumination, the Buddha explains, and the 

beautiful women whose bodies they enjoy are actually images of the Great 

Goddess, consecrated through the secret Kaula initiation. 

The Buddha then proceeds to induct Vasistha into the left-hand path, 

instructing him in the methods of sexual illumination. Through the 

celebration of sexual rites with the Buddha's enchanting consorts, Vasistha 

achieves direct contact with the Great Goddess, She who has for so long 

eluded him. In one flash of protracted, supernal delight, his body yoked to the 

body of the Great Goddess in human form, the sage instantly attains the 

liberation he sought in vain through self-denial for so many thousands of 


Extracted from the quaint imagery and regional specifics, the story of 

the Sage Vasistha outlines the journey that awaits every magician of the lefthand 

path. All who walk the sinister way travel from the familiar land of his 

or her original provenance to a mysterious territory where all known 

conventions are reversed and sexual ecstasy is revealed as the great 

awakening force. In defiance of every puritan cult that would bridle the 



exalted power of Eros, the Adepts of the left-hand path embrace 

unconditioned freedom. 

Essential Principles Of The Left-Hand Path 

Far from being the vague catch-all one might at first imagine due to so many 

decades of misuse in the West, the phrase "left-hand path" is very specific in 

its precise meaning, which will become apparent when we examine the 

original Sanskrit phrase Varna Marga, from which it is translated. 

And yet, despite this clear definition, attested to by well over a 

thousand years of continuous use in India, the historical reality of the lefthand 

path is commonly ignored in favor of modern fantasies that bear almost 

no resemblance to the facts. To begin the task of correcting some of the 

distorted perceptions caused by this state of affairs, we must address the lefthand 

path on its own terms, by cleaving as closely as possible to traditional 

sources. This method steers clear of the fashionable postmodern 

deconstructionism so beloved of contemporary academics on one hand, and 

the equally obfuscatory muddle-headedness of the typical occultist on the 

other. Both camps have played their part in obscuring the true meaning of the 

left-hand path's erotic gnosis. 

One of the most basic elements of the perennial magical philosophy, 

and one that we will emphasize in this book, is that words possess a power of 

their own. By restoring a more accurate understanding of the words "lefthand 

path", we aim to revive some of the lost power of this tradition of 

sexual initiation. The best place to begin this inquiry into defining the lefthand 

path is by examining its historical beginnings, and isolating its essential 

principles. It is to the left-hand path fountainhead in India that we must first 

turn to truly comprehend the sinister way of carnal self-transformation. 

The roots of the left-hand path are very ancient indeed, grounded in 

dark goddess oriented sexual cults extant in the highly advanced Indus Valley 

civilization long before the Aryan conquest of that region occurred. After 

being suppressed by the Aryan occupying force sweeping into India by way 

of Afghanistan, the methods of left-hand path sexual initiation enjoyed a 

reawakening within heretical sects in the India of approximately one 

thousand years ago. Although left-hand path sexual practices are alluded to in 

some of India's eldest sacred literature, they seem not to have been explicitly 

shaped into a codified, written teaching until the coming of Tantra. The lefthand 

path took on more exact form in the secret doctrine of medieval Tantric 

sects, but by the nineteenth century, another occupying force - this time the 

sexually repressed paladins of the British Empire - attempted to wipe out the 

cult again. 

So to speak of the Indian left-hand tradition is then to refer to a 

doctrine of erotic illumination dating back at least 2500 years, to the still 

relatively uncharted pre-Aryan history of the sub-continent. And to 


comprehend one of the causes of the Varna Marga's secretive nature, the 

modern magician must understand that this is a liberating force that has 

consistently fought to survive the hostility of repressive authorities made 

uneasy by a sexual approach to spiritual awakening. 

It is possible to narrow our definition of the left-hand path down to a 

few core elements. These principles are applicable to both Western lefthanded 

sex magic and its ancient Eastern source. A left-hand path approach 

to initiation, no matter where it is practiced, or by whom, or under what 

cultural conditions, will be seen to include certain key factors. 

In essence, the left-hand path is: 

1.) The transformation of human consciousness to divine consciousness 

via the manipulation of the sexual currents of the physical and subtle 

bodies through erotic rites. 

For the male initiate, this sexual gnosis is traditionally attained with the 

collaboration of a female consort-initiatrix. The female sexual initiatrix is the 

presiding source of the left-hand path; the motive energy of the sinister 

current flows directly from her. During the ritualized sexual act, something 

more than ordinary intercourse occurs - a magical exchange takes place, a 

transference of power transmitted through the subtle vehicles of desire, 

attraction and erotic fusion. 
Together, the couple celebrates a cult of ecstasy which has no less an 
aim than their own self-deification. Something of the crucial importance of 
sexuality to the left-hand path can be gleaned from the fact that the defining 
difference between the left-hand path and the far more commonly practiced 
right-hand path is primarily the emphasis on physical sexuality found in the 

former, and the absence of same in the latter. 

Although the left-hand path focuses much of its attention on the 

physical interplay of erotic polarities embodied in male and female sexuality, 

it is concerned with the ecstatic transcendence of all seeming opposites, 

including good and evil, death and life, darkness and light, flesh and spirit, 

the beautiful and the hideous, ad infinitum. 
2.) A sexual exaltation of the female principle of power in the universe, 

known in Sanskrit as Shakti. 

This universal feminine mystique, which we will sometimes refer to in its 

transcultural aspect as the Feminine Daemonic, is the driving factor for both 

male and female initiates of the left-hand path. For male magicians, left-hand 

path initiation includes the attainment of this feminine power within 

themselves through a complex system of bodily disciplines, including sexual 

congress. The female initiate strives to more fully become the vehicle of the 

Feminine Daemonic. In effect, she is at once the priestess of shakti, the 

intermediary between this sacred power and the world of visible appearances, 

as well as an incarnation of the multif ormed Goddess Shakti herself. 

It is important to point out early in our survey that this feminine 

principle exalted in the left-hand path is not the social role of woman as selfsacrificing 

passive wife and fertile mother figure honored by conventional 

religions. But neither does the Varna Marga comply with a contemporary 

feminist model of reality that considers all women to be victimized saints and 

all men to be lecherous demons. Although shakti harkens back to the now 

suppressed archaic understanding of essential woman as holy warrioress, 

divine huntress, and sacred whore or hierodule, the feminine principle sought 

by left-hand path initiates ultimately transcends woman as a natural 

phenomenon altogether, venturing into the non-natural shadow side of her 


3.) Initiation through the deliberate violation of deep-seated external 

social and internal personal taboos, the individual separation from tribal 

normative values, and the radical inversion of convention and orthodoxy 

of every kind. 

A traditional proverb of the Tantric Varna Marga sums this principle up 

succinctly: "Through the very deed through which humans for hundreds of 

millions of kalpas burn in hell, through exactly that deed is the Yogi 
liberated." This left-hand path method of deliberate inversion is known as 

viparit karani, or opposite-doing. 

As George Orwell wrote in his 1984, "Orthodoxy means not 

thinking - not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness." In this sense, 

the left-hand path represents deliberate heresy against the dominant culture of 

the practitioner (whatever that culture maybe), a breaking of sleepwalking 

orthodoxy in favor of a fully conscious state of wide awake being. Left-hand 

path initiation, however, cannot be limited to a merely intellectual break with 

the herd-animal man. As the proverb above makes clear, these transgressions 

must be deeds, physical actions, taken in the real world to truly effect selftransf ormation. 

It is not only what the left-hand path initiate thinks that 

situates him or her in the sinister current; it is what he or she does. The lefthand 

path is a way of action, not intellectual contemplation, or worse yet, 

reading about action. 

4.) Essentially elitist, in that it must be chosen, is not suited for all 

dispositions and does not come naturally. It is directed to the individual 

consciousness, unrelated to collective identity as a social creature or a 


being subject to divine or natural law. Although the modern world is 

based on democratic notions of full disclosure to all, the sinister current, 

wherever it has manifested, is based on the proposition that some things 

can only be communicated to certain individuals, at the right time, and 

under the right circumstances. 

The left-hand path is closed to the common man and woman, who is 

regarded as little more than a herd-animal (Sanskrit pashu). The sinister 

current is considered fit only for the temperament of the heroic warrior 

(Sanskrit vira) or divine (Sanskrit divya) individual. Initiation on the lefthand 

path always begins with an understanding that all human beings are 

born into nature as herd-animals. The ultimate left-hand path goal of 

Awakening (Sanskrit Bodhana) occurs through exerting a rigorous effort 

against the innate low level of consciousness, (Supta, or sleep) which is 

regarded as the natural condition of the human animal. 

This awakening is realized through a discipline of mental and 

physical control, sexual rites, taboo-breaking and exaltation of the Feminine 

Daemonic, allowing the initiate to sunder the fetters binding the beast. 
Through this process the Varna Marga adept becomes heroic, that is to say, 

freed from the conditioning that binds the common human being and 

experiences reality directly. However, this sought-for coming into being as a 

"hero" does not mean that the left-hand path initiate seeks the approval or 

validation of the society he or she lives within. On the contrary, by the time 

the hero or heroine has crossed all boundaries binding his or her 

consciousness, it is very likely that those still bound by conventional 

morality may regard the left-hand path adept as an ignominious villain. 

5.) A method of initiation that actively embraces this life, this world, 

this physical realm, this body as the means to illumination and 

Awakening. The left-hand path is not a route of escapism from reality, 

but a confrontation with the full totality of physical and psychic 

existence, encompassing pleasure and joy as well as horror and 


The left-hand path explicitly rejects the practice of abstinence, asceticism, 

self-denial and the traditional contempt for matter that typifies the majority 

of spiritual methods in West and East. The exclusively "otherworldly" 

concerns of the typical swami or maharishi known to the West in recent 

decades is alien to the sinister current. Although the left-handed gnosis 

expands human consciousness to divine states of being outside the 

constraints of time and nature, this is not a path that leads to some nebulous 

elsewhere in the great beyond. 


One of the mysteries of the left-hand path is that "elsewhere" is right 

here in your own body. So, the sinister way aims for liberation in this 

lifetime and in the initiate's current physical body, rather than in an afterlife 

state or via reincarnation. This sense of urgency is in marked contrast to the 

almost infinite time accorded and recommended by most Eastern methods of 


Hindu And Buddhist Branches Of The Left-Hand Path 

Due to the very different cultural-historical conditions prevailing in each 

region, these rudiments of the left-hand path can be observed very clearly in 

the traditional Eastern model, somewhat less distinctly in its diverse Western 

derivations. An exploration of the Tantric left-hand path primarily as it 

manifested as an apostasy within Indian Hinduism - and in variants 

developed within Tibetan Buddhism and Chinese Taoism - will allow the sex 

magician to better understand the essential energy of the sinister current. In 

this introduction to the key concepts of the Eastern left-hand path, we have 

concentrated on the Indian/Hindu variety of sinister Tantra, which seems to 

us to be the most adaptable to the Western magician's practice of sex magic 

and is the dominant influence on our own practice. 

Nevertheless, left-hand path Tantra has also had a significant impact 

on Mahayana Buddhism, especially in its Vajrayana school, primarily based 

in Tibetan lamaism, which incorporates a great deal of the shamanic sexual 

magic of the pre-Buddhist Bon religion native to Tibet. Vajra, known in 

Tibetan as Dorje, is a multi-tiered symbol expressing the hardness of the 

erect penis, the thunderbolt that connects earth to the heavens with its 

illuminating flash and the diamond-like solidity of the soul made 

imperishable through left-handed sexual rites. The Vajra thunderbolt has also 

been likened to the intense piercing of the body by sexual energy. Vajra can 

be compared to the attainment of "gold" in Western alchemy, the creation of 

an absolute individuation of the self as an indestructible force. The word 

Vajra alternately describes the phallic royal scepter of Tibetan theocracy and 

the powers of sacral kingship which such a staff confers. (In this sense, it 

resembles the Was scepter carried by the Egyptian pharaoh, which is 

distinguished by the deliberately phallic shape of the god Set's head.) 

One of Tibet's most revered medieval spiritual teachers, Drugpa 

Kunley, was an open devotee of the left-hand path, notorious as the "Crazy 

Yogi" or "Divine Madman" who taught his disciples that the energy of sexual 

pleasure could be deflected from merely genital orgasm to a way of 

illumination. According to legend, he practiced what he preached, 

promiscuously initiating a myriad of women into his teaching during his 

wanderings through Tibet as a holy beggar. Repudiating the disavowal of 

desire taught in conventional Buddhism, Drugpa utilized emotion, desire and 

erotic passion as instruments to awaken his students through delight. 

Ridiculing conventional mores and applying shock tactics to awaken and 

disillusion his students, Drugpa's straightforward practice of the left-hand 

path is rare among Tibetan Buddhists. 

Usually, the sexual rites are kept strictly secret by the Tibetan monks 

who practice them, as seems to have been the case with the late Kalu 

Rinpoche, who allegedly presented himself outwardly as a celibate ascetic 

despite his life-long use of female disciples as ritual sexual partners. Human 

nature being what it is, naturally this secrecy can be a breeding ground for 

sexual exploitation of the most unenlightened variety. For instance, some 

elderly Tibetan monks persuade naive young female disciples to be their 

sexual consorts with promises of "good karma" rewarded for compliance. In 

such cases, one must suspect that the left-hand path mysteries of Vajrayana 

are being used to justify mundane sex lacking any initiatory function. Of 
course, this type of secular sexual exploitation played out in spiritual guise is 
hardly exclusive to Eastern cultures; Western occultism has always been rife 

with such pretense. 

The metaphysical premises of Buddhist teaching are based on a 

desire to completely disintegrate the individual consciousness into 

nonexistence and a negation of all phenomena as maya, unreal projections of 

the mind. These ideas are obviously less relevant to the goal of attaining an 

independent divine consciousness inherent in the Hindu-based left-hand path 


Within the purview of the Hindu-heretic left-hand path, the complex 

symbolism and artistic expression, sexual rites, gestures and spoken mantras 

are understood as coded signs of some hidden aspect of reality. This hidden 

reality, although obscure to waking consciousness, is understood 

nevertheless to be a substantial phenomenon, something that exists. Adepts 

of the Buddhist left-hand path - although they may utilize very similar 

sexual rites, symbolism and techniques - are just as convinced that their 

practices are ultimately nothing more than necessary steps to a great 

Nothingness, an emptiness concealed behind the world of sensory 

impressions. For them, nothing truly exists. This is a vast difference in 

approach and should be kept in mind as we investigate the two branches of 

left-hand path erotic initiation. 

That being said, it is possible to interpret some left-hand path 

Buddhist teachings, such as the aforementioned Vajrayana, as a means of 

generating a sexually created self-deified essence that does not melt into one 

with the non-being of nirvana. This is best exemplified by the tradition of 

the Bodhisattva; the fully awakened adept who is neither reincarnated to 

further suffering nor consumed into nirvana but who follows the left-hand 

path to continued survival as a transhuman daemonic entity. The adept who 

has remanifested as a Bodhisattva is said to wield the power of illuminating 

less advanced humans, even from a non-corporeal state. 

This concept, in a greatly simplified - not to say frequently 


fraudulent form - was drafted into the Western magical tradition's lore of the 

"Secret Chiefs" and "Ascended Masters" supposedly overseeing mankind's 

spiritual development. Such significant occult movements in the West as the 

Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Theosophy, and Aleister Crowley's 

Thelema, all of which claimed to derive their spiritual legitimacy from 
bodhisattva-like entities, can then be said to bear the marks of this Buddhist 
left-hand path influence. Despite this fact, all three of the above-mentioned 

occult bodies were adamant in insisting that they were thoroughly of the 
right-hand path, condemning the left-hand path as a malevolent force. This 
prevalent Western confusion concerning the exact meaning of the two paths 

will prove to be a recurring theme. 

The secretive nature of the Eastern left-hand path always allows for 

the ambiguous possibility of a true inner doctrine, communicated only to 

certain initiates, concealed by a more conventional outer doctrine presented 

to the profane. Only such an inner doctrine can explain how the adepts of the 

Buddhist left-hand path pursue aims so adverse to the precepts of orthodox 


Although we will provide a few instances of Tibetan left-hand path 

sex magic, Buddhism itself actually tends to vitiate the meaning of magic 

altogether. There is little point in causing magical change in a universe 

which is thought to be mere illusion. And yet, the techniques of Tibetan lefthand 

path magic can be applied without necessarily ascribing to the 

philosophical premises connected to them. Hindu-heretical left-hand path 

metaphysics takes a radically different approach to reality /unreality, more in 

keeping with the purposes of the Western sex magician. The form of Taoist 

sacred eroticism developed in ancient China, the yin-tao, also provides 
several concepts useful to transcultural application in contemporary erotic 

initiation. It is safe to say that the Tantric left-hand path, in one form or 

another, has been assimilated throughout the Eastern world, even disguising 

itself under Sufi garb during the Islamic conquest of India, and flourishing 

for a time in Japan before the anti-sexual spirit of austere Confucianism 

neutered its force in that region. 

Although this section of the book will largely illustrate the Eastern 

model of the left-hand path, we will frequently compare these principles to 

their expression in ancient Mediterranean and European magical practice. By 

viewing the sinister current through the lenses of different traditions, a more 

universal vision of the left-hand path can be realized. 

A Synthesis Of Two Worlds 

Even though we stress that the left-hand path per se is undisputedly of 

Indian origin, we do not wish to encourage contemporary Occidental sex 

magicians to uncritically embrace a romantic vision of the supremacy of the 


"mysterious East" as being more authentically spiritual and enlightened than 

the West, a common error in esoteric circles. There is no pure Eastern lefthand 

path Shangri-La and if there ever was it has long since been subsumed 

by colonialism and global Westernization. 

It is all too easy for modern magicians to imagine a fantastic 

dreamworld of infallible Ascended Masters guarding secrets that can only be 

communicated in some distant Himalayan ashram. These fantasies, which 

have permeated the magical tradition of the West, have led more than one 

Westerner to abandon all critical thinking, often leading to an immersion in 

exotic trappings and foreign nomenclature for their own sake. That is the 

route of escapism, a cul-de-sac into which many sex magicians have 

unwittingly wandered as they walk the left-hand path. 

We have often observed magicians make a healthy break with the 

religious or social orthodoxy that formed them - one of the first steps of lefthand 

path initiation - only to fawningly follow the dogma of another, perhaps 

less well-known, religious orthodoxy instead. Westerners are particularly 

susceptible to this "grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" 

syndrome, since the post-Christian religiomagical tradition in the West 

sometimes seems so impoverished by comparison to the more vital Eastern 

traditions of initiation. Thus, the phenomenon of the Westerner who breaks 

from the restrictions of Judaeo-Christianity or atheism only to prostrate 

him/herself at the feet of an equally prohibitive Eastern guru. This can hardly 

be accounted as progress; it's merely trading one set of pre-packaged 

regulations for a less familiar oppression. 

Rather than opting for this route, we outline the essential sex-magical 

principles of the left-hand path and apply them to conditions in the urban 

transglobal world, instead of fetishistically recreating the provincial world of 

India's past, in which the left-hand path originally developed. Left-hand path 

sex magic as we illustrate it here can be effectively applied to any cultural 

background - it is most expressly not an exercise in nostalgia for an idealized 

antiquity in a distant land. We take it as a given that the specific symbolism 

that worked for a left hand path initiate in a small village in the tightly 

controlled, caste-ridden Bengal of the seventeenth century cannot be 

completely applicable to the work of a left-hand path adept operating in the 

chaotic anti-culture of the twenty-first century. Therefore, we provide a 

detailed introduction to the historic left-hand path teachings but with the 

understanding that the contemporary sex magician can - and should - shape 

these methods to suit his or her own present day desires and circumstances. 

Actually, this universal approach coincides with traditional left-hand 

path practice. One of the tenets of the Tantric left-hand path states that the 

teaching is suited for all initiated creatures of the Kali Yuga in every culture 

and is not limited to its Eastern places of origin. 


But, to our experience, the left-hand path, in its traditional Eastern 

conception, as transmitted through a lineage of initiated teachers and 

students, is not well-suited for the neurotic psychosexual conditions that 

fracture the Western mind. The mystical psychologist Carl Jung, himself a 

clandestine practitioner of sex-magical practices, studied the breadth and 

depth of Eastern spiritual teachings. Jung concluded that if the average 

Westerner were to adopt the Oriental disciplines of self -transformation, he or 

she would risk bringing on a psychotic break. While we would not go that 

far, it is clear that the Eastern left-hand path does call out for adaptation, if it 

is to be truly effective in a Western sex magician's initiation. 

This approach will strike some traditional Tantric gurus as nothing 

less than heresy, but since the left-hand path is a heresy to begin with, we 

consider this to be a logical progression. The left-hand path's art of sexual 

initiation is not a body of static ceremonial from the past, to be faithfully 

recreated without change, but a living tradition. Like any living tradition, it is 

the innovations and adaptations of its current practitioners, rather than the 

culture-specific and time-bound restrictions of former times, that must 

determine its viability. 

Because this section of the book adheres closely to the traditional 

left-hand path teachings in their original form, the contemporary sex 

magician will be struck by several limiting factors. Most glaringly, despite 

the Eastern Varna Marga's reverence for the Feminine Daemonic, female sex 

magicians will notice that relatively little instruction is actually offered to the 

female partner in left-hand path rites. The Tantras speak almost entirely to a 

presumed male initiate, a one-sided perspective we must expect in a tradition 

that was largely recorded in medieval India and Tibet. Obviously, the 

contemporary female practitioner of the left-hand path is free to apply these 

methods to her course of self-transformation in very different circumstances 

than prevailed in the Eastern world of centuries ago. 

So, in tracing some of the most important aspects of the Eastern 

Varna Marga in this chapter, it is not intended that the modern Western sex 

magician should blindly obey the ancient ways of the left-hand path. To 
devoutly follow tradition in such a doctrinaire manner would be deadening 

and sleep-inducing, running counter to the eternally transformative and 
remanif esting essence of the left-hand path itself. Even if it were possible to 

transplant the exact practices of the Eastern left-hand path to a Western 
environment, it would not be magically desirable to do so. Many of the outer 

manifestations of the Eastern Varna Marga are simply not relevant to a 
magician working in the modern Western world, although the eternal esoteric 

principles are relevant to all times and places. 

This is why this book urges the way of creative synthesis rather than 

strict observance of archaic tradition for its own sake. It would be foolish for 


the modern left-hand path sex magician to act without first gaining a sound 

understanding of the basic principles that inform the left-hand path tradition. 

But one should not fall prey to the common magical error of assuming that 

just because some practice is condoned by tradition, it must be just as valid 


Ancient is not a synonym for good; much that is ancient is worthless 

in a contemporary context, save for historical interest. Separating the 

effective from the irrelevant is the discerning task of each individual 

magician. Thankfully, left-hand path Tantra lends itself to individual 

application; few esoteric methods are so free of dogma. Despite the 

sometimes forbidding esoteric terminology of the Tantric Varna Marga, its 

actual teachings are primarily of a practical and experimental nature, rather 

than the rigid agglomeration of regulations common to many initiatory 


Furthermore, even though India provides us with the richest, most 

intact and continuous model of left-hand path initiation to study, it would be 

a mistake to imagine that the sinister current itself is of exclusively Indian 

provenance. In fact, the left-hand path is actually located in your own brain, 

spinal column and genitals, waiting to be switched on. Many magicians have 

activated this current within themselves entirely by accident, with no 

knowledge whatsoever of the historical left-handed tradition. Those who 

have stumbled upon this power spontaneously, usually through an 

experience of intense sexual ecstasy, certainly have an advantage in having 

inadvertently come to this realization. The fact that this event has occurred 

at all would indicate a great deal of potential - many humans are never able 

to awaken the sinister current that can be made to flow through the bodymind- 

soul complex. 

But calling oneself a traveler on the left-hand path without first 

attaining a solid understanding of its long-established methods and 

principles is somewhat like saying you're an astronaut because you once saw 

a space shuttle on TV. Similarly, simply reading through this (or any) book 

on a strictly intellectual level will not place you on the left-hand path; that 

can only occur when you've applied the theoretical postulates to the many 

aspects of your being, directing sexual ecstasy towards alteration of those 

deceptive phenomena most readily categorized as inner self and outer 


A very common misunderstanding that we have come across among 

Westerners eager to learn the ways of left-hand path sex magic, is an 

assumption that in "enlightened" India its practice is surely widely known 

and accepted. This imagined openness is pitted against what is assumed to 

be Western ignorance. It is true that Hinduism allows for a different degree 

of dissent and heresy than Westerners might be accustomed to observing in 


their own society regarding sex-magical practices. Nevertheless, the Vama 

Marga remains little known and little understood even in India. When it is 

mentioned, it is usually in a disdainful and uninformed manner. M. 

Krishnamacharya in his History Of Classical And Tantric Literature, typifies 

this ignorance, when he writes: "It is a licentious worship, and leads to 
cruelty, self-indulgence, and sensual gratification. Hence it is a blot upon the 
'Modern Hinduism'. The sect goes under the name of the Bahm Marges (sic), 

or the secret sect." Not surprisingly, Krishnamacharya was of the Brahmin 

caste, the sexually ascetic and world-rejecting higher caste in Indian society 

for whom the left-hand path is an abomination. Because of the Tantric 

association with sex magic, the popular press in India continues to report 

Tantric activity with the same bias, inaccuracy and misgivings one finds in 

Western journalistic accounts of Satanism. 

To meaningfully recreate the constitutive elements of the left-hand 

path tradition within the unique reality of your own initiation requires a 

wakeful, dynamic approach. A static, dutiful playing by the rules is poison 

to the sinister current initiate. The left-hand path is unique among 

metaphysical traditions in that it deliberately repudiates all and any sacred 

cows that lumber into view. Whether left-hand path initiates are located in 

Bombay, Manchester, Sydney, or Cincinnati, a mutual discipline is to keep a 

sharp eye out for one's own sacred cows, slaughtering them ruthlessly as a 

means to personal power. 

The Varna Marga - A Path Of Many Roads 

The phrases Tantra and left-hand path have been used so indiscriminately in 

recent years - especially since their relative popularization in the wake of the 

so-called sexual revolution of the 1960s - that they've practically become allpurpose 

descriptions for any kind of metaphysically inclined fucking. So 

prevalent are these simplifications that we can't begin to define Tantra and 

the left-hand path within any kind of authentic context without first briefly 

weaving our way through some of the most enduring of these Western 

popular trivializations. We've even seen enterprising call girls with an eye on 

the mystic market advertise themselves as Tantric Escorts, adepts in Tantric 

Massage, and experts at Tantric Lap Dancing. Pleasurable as these diversions 

might be, it would be ridiculous to consider them Tantric except in name. As 

we shall see, the sacred whore has actually played a long and distinguished 

role in left-handed Tantric tradition but this recent mercenary development 

has only served to confuse an already misunderstood subject. 

The Tantric phrase "left-hand path" has likewise been adopted by 

two quite contradictory Western spiritual subcultures spawned at roughly the 

same time during the 1960s search for alternative religion. Its use can be 

found most abundantly within the populist New Age movement, which 


includes among its many sects a goodly number of Neo-Tantric teachers and 

groups who describe themselves as left-hand path simply due to their use of 

sexual rites. However, although a tentative link exists between actual lefthand 

practice and the Neo-Tantrics, it is often an extremely superficial one, 

typically ignoring most of the essential principles of the left-hand path 

outlined at the beginning of this chapter, while emphasizing the Varna 

Marga's more acceptable - and marketable - elements. 

At the opposite pole, the less numerous groups comprising the 

modern Neo-Satanic movement and its offshoots also commonly describe 

themselves as left-hand path. Contrary to popular opinion, practically none of 

these Satanic societies include even the rudiments of left-hand path sexual 

initiation among their almost entirely cerebral and really rather prim practices 

- thus excluding the single most important feature of any definition of the 

left-hand path. 

We will return to the New Age "left-hand path" and the Satanic "lefthand 

path" in a subsequent chapter, in which we will examine the curious 

importation of the Varna Marga to Western culture. For now, it's sufficient to 

mention their existence as contemporary phenomena that have contributed to 

the perplexity preventing an understanding of the left-hand path in the West. 

Leaving these aside for now, let us unravel the puzzle of the phrase Varna 

Marga, the left-hand path, as it was originally understood. 

The vast ocean of loosely defined doctrines that fall under the 

umbrella of Hinduism - a cluster of creeds that lack the unifying hierarchy 

present in most religions - has led to a proliferation of sects, of which the 

Tantric left-hand path is only one of the best known outside of India. 

Although Tantra in the West is commonly thought to be synonymous with 

sex, erotic rites actually form a very small part of the vast tapestry of Tantric 

practice. The respected Tantric authority Agehananda Bharati has pointed out 

in his The Tantric Tradition that only seven percent of Tantric material is of a 

sexual nature. In fact, sexual magic and erotic mysticism is almost 

exclusively the province of the relatively small number of left-hand path 

Tantric adepts. 

The fallacy that the entirety of Tantra partakes of the sinister sexual 

rites of its Varna Marga was current in the Western world as long ago as 

1914, when Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe) felt compelled to write in 

his introduction to the Tantratattva that this particular Tantric text "may have 

proved a disappointment to those who, at the mention of Tantra, always 

expect to hear of rituals with wine and women, the midnight circle (Cakra), 

black magic in the cremation grounds, and so forth." Of course, our attention 

will be unabashedly focused on these little understood activities. However, 

these are solely the ways of the minority left-turning path. They are not 

practiced in the much broader body of the Tantric tradition as a whole, which 

is primarily of the right-hand path. 


This more widespread right-hand path of Tantra, the Daksini Marga, 

is by far the most socially acceptable of the two paths, as it abjures the 

physical sexual rites and taboo-breaking intrinsic to the left-hand path, 

utilizing primarily intellectual and symbolic means of initiation. Furthermore, 

the right-hand path emphasis on the male principle is less controversial in 

patriarchal Asian countries traditionally oppressive of women. The Varna 

Marga, devoted to erotic initiation through the feminine as both eternal, 

spiritual entity and physical, sexual being, is dewed as much more heretical 

by ordinary Hindus and Buddhists. 

There is not simply one unambiguous reason why the left-hand path 

was given that name; the answer to this question is split into several layers of 

physical, semantic and religious meaning. Like many Sanskrit words, vama 

can be translated to mean many different things - there are at least four 

relevant definitions that concern us. By merely examining the different strata 

that can be read into its name, most of the essential principles of the left-hand 

path can be observed. In this sense, the very phrase Vama Marga is a coded 

magical communication, a symbolic sigil or mantra revealing its own essence 

to the magician who unlocks its message. The fact that the phrase itself can 

impart so much of the initiatory approach unique to the left-hand path may 

account for its potent durability and appeal, even among those who have 

never looked beyond its surface. 

First, let us consider the two Sanskrit phrases that are commonly 

translated into English as "left-hand path." The eldest of these two terms is 

Vama Cam, literally the left way. The (relatively) more recent Vama Marga 

simply means the left path; the "hand" appears to have been added by later 

Western interpreters, although it has now become generally accepted, even in 

India. In fact, Vama Cara is often used interchangeably with Vama Marga, 

although for clarity's sake we will stick to the latter phrase throughout this 

book. The essential root of both is vama, most often interpreted as meaning 


The Sinister Direction 

... beware of the left, the cult ofShakti. 

— James Joyce, Ulysses 

The leftwardness of the left-hand path is such a seemingly obvious part of 

our subject that it's often simply overlooked or taken for granted. But every 

once in a while, we have been asked, "So, why is the left-hand path left 
anyway?" Like many an apparently easy question, the answer is surprisingly 

complex. Since it has frequently been wondered if there is any link between 

the leftwardness of the Varna Marg and the political designation "left-wing", 

we should first establish that there is no connection at all between the two. 

The specific numinous significance of leftwardness can be traced 


back to man's earliest known religiomagical symbolism in ancient 

Mesopotamian Sumer, but seems to be an almost universal concept. 

Tellingly, the ancient Sumerians unfailingly spoke of "right and left" in that 

order, believing that it would invite bad luck to mention the left first. In the 

modern world, this idea survives in such superstitions as that of placing 

one's right shoe on before the left. Mesopotamian figurines of protective 

deities were always portrayed striding forward with the left leg, the better to 

move against the left-dwelling monstrous creatures that populated creation's 

shadow side. 

In Sumerian divination, the right side of the moon was thought to be 

fortunate, while the left was ominous. In this earliest of documented human 

civilizations, greetings, blessings and eating were always carried out with 

the right hand, which was associated with purity, a tradition that still 

survives in India. The Indian goddess Kali, the darkest spectrum of Shakti in 

her many-armed wrathful form, is most frequently depicted as making ritual 

gestures of blessing with her right hands, while brandishing a sword and 
decapitated head in her left hands - the simultaneously purifying and terrible 

nature of the sinister current. 

It has been speculated that the ancient association of right with good 

and left with evil may simply mirror the fact that most people are righthanded 

- a primitive assumption that what is normal must be virtuous, while 

what is unusual must be wrong. Parents whose children are born left-handed 

will often take measures to assure that this anomaly is corrected, or "set 

right". Shaking hands with the left hand is still actively avoided, even by 

people normally untouched by superstition. Therefore, to deliberately turn 

left is to deviate from what would seem to be the body's natural course and 

tempt fate. Simply going left, when tradition tells us that right is the only 

way to go, is the first taboo violation of the left-hand path, the initial 

separation from the habitual inclinations of humanity. 

Symbolically, to incur upon one's self the powers of the left is to 

embrace the adverse side of existence instinctively shunned by the 

preponderance of humans. The left is the Other, the unknown, a direction 

that is everywhere known as the "wrong" way to go, in contrast to the welltrod 

path of the right. 

Many of the world's languages reflect this deeply rooted aversion to 

leftwardness. The modem English word "left" derives from the Old English 

lyft, which meant weak or palsied, connected to "leper", among other 

unpleasant associations. Another Old English word for "left" was winestra, 

which meant "friendlier". This word provides us with an interesting case of 

the magical use of words. By euphemistically referring to the feared left side 

as friendly, the speaker hoped to magically appease the destructive forces of 

leftwardness, a practice akin to calling a snarling wolf "nice doggy." 

The Latinate word "sinister", of course, suggests much more than 


literal leftwardness - it carries distinctly negative connotations of its own. 

It's also a common synonym for the malefic, a meaning it has held since 

ancient Roman soothsayers first interpreted phenomena situated on the left 

(sinistrum) to be unfavorable omens. Those on the right (dexter, whose 

etymological connection with the Sanskrit daksina is obvious) were thought 

to be benevolent. No doubt the ancient association between the words left 

and sinister has increased the impression that the left-hand path is 

intrinsically evil. 
So, is the left-hand path only to be understood as one half of a 

duality, the contrary complement to a dexterous twin? Are the right and lefthand 

paths truly just different streams of the same spiritual river? Several 

Tantric historians have suggested that Varna Cava and Varna Marg 

originally conveyed something far more descriptive of its techniques than 

leftwardness, a meaning that may actually predate the leftward interpretation 


Shakti And The Feminine Daemonic 

Perhaps even more essential to the left-hand path than its sinister direction is 

the fact that the word vama carries an alternate meaning of "woman". The 

Vama Marga is actually "the Path of Woman". In fact, the Vama Marga 

seems to have been known as the path of woman long before it was 

interpreted as the way of the left, the opposite of the right-hand path. This 

definition gets at the heart of this approach to initiation, focused as it is on 

the Feminine Daemonic of Shakti in all of her forms. Some Tantric scholars 

have surmised that the sexually oriented left-hand path was actually the first 

Tantric school, while the right-hand path only developed as a much later 

watered-down non-sexual version of the older system of initiation. 

Some of the earliest Tantric texts, or Tantras, do not speak of a 

right-hand path at all, but describe all of Tantra as the way of woman, Vama 

Cava. Therefore, many Tantric teachers continue to refer to the entire 

Tantric tradition as the left-hand path. This idea has been advanced, among 

other Tantric historians, by N.N. Bhattacharyya in his 1982 History Of The 

Tantric Religion. Supporting this theory of the primacy of the sexual lefthand 

path to the chaste right-hand path is the fact that the word "Kaula" was 
originally used to describe the entire Tantric school - Kaula is also the name 
of one of the very oldest left-hand path sexual clans, originating in Northern 


As we have already stated, crucial to all Tantric doctrine and 

practice - but especially to the Vama Marga - is the recognition of Shakti, 

the eidolon of cosmic femininity as the central initiatory power; indeed, the 

very word means "power." Shakti is not conceived of as a remote goddess 

inhabiting some distant sphere or an abstract philosophical archetype. 

Rather, she is understood to be a divine force that incarnates in living 


women. For left-hand path adepts, the female body is the temple of the 

divine force quickening the visible universe. Her vulva, or yoni, is regarded 

as the altar in which Shakti's electrifying energy is most vigorous. 

However, this feminine principle is by no means limited to 

biological females alone. Tantrics regard the level of personal force and 

power demonstrated within an individual of either sex to be a consequence 

of the quantity of shakti they possess. Furthermore, an important aspect of 

Tantricism for male Tantric adepts is the endeavor to arouse the spiritual 

female within them. 

To a certain extent, the entire physical universe of transient matter 

is the manifestation of Shakti. Consequently, the left-hand path adept does 

not disdain the physical world, as is so common in standard spiritual practice 

- the physical world is viewed as the very route to illumination, most 

directly through sexual veneration of shakti in the form of a human female. 

Based on this premise, left-hand path sexual Tantra teaches that the actual 

manipulation of carnal ecstasy in the physical body is the principal tool of 


Male initiates of the left-hand path so emulate Shakti that they seek 

to literally awaken her within their own bodies and psyches. The left-hand 

path adept understands that women are gifted with a mysterious innate talent 

for magic, for divination and other black arts. The bridge between the 

Scandinavian tradition of the volva, the female seer and the serpentine 

female oracles of ancient Greece reveals the archaic understanding that 

magical power is intrinsically feminine in nature. Consequently, males of the 

left-hand path strive to integrate some of this feminine essence within 

themselves, a practice not confined only to India. Shamans in almost every 

culture, for instance, traditionally take on certain female attributes to propel 

them on their visionary journeys, a striking example of the universality of 

the left-hand path's working principles. 

The Italian magician-philosopher Julius Evola, the most erudite 

twentieth century Western interpreter of the left-hand path, analyses this 

universal essence of feminine magical force in his 1958 magnum opus The 

Metaphysics Of Sex, when he observes that: 

" China the character wu, used to designate a person who exercised the 

arts of magic in a strict or 'shamanic' sense, was originally applied only to 

females. The techniques employed by the wu to contact supersensual forces 

were sometimes ascetic and at other times orgiastic; in the latter case it seems 

that in the beginning the wu officiated wholly naked. The wu had to have 
youth and fascinating beauty as preliminary qualifications for her work, and 


the meanings of the characters yao and miao as ^ queer', N disquieting', and 

'mysterious' refer to the type and qualities of the wu. " 

This archaic Chinese equation of feminine power with both the magical and 

the genuinely "weird" energies in the universe reveals how the archetype of 

the left-hand path makes itself known again and again in unconnected 

esoteric traditions around the world. 

Learning of left-hand path exaltation of the Feminine Daemonic 

might lead those of our readers indoctrinated by the omnipresent feminist 

cant and dogma that slants much modern esoteric thinking to falsely assume 

that the left-hand path's alternate definition as the Way of Woman allows it to 

be interpreted as some sort of feminist movement with spiritual trappings. It 

must be made clear that these mysteries have nothing to do with the 

politically correct vision of Woman promulgated by most feminist 

ideologues, nor can ancient magical and initiatory principles be credibly 

forced to serve any modern political creeds. 

The awe-inspiring dark goddess who flows through the sinister 

current is far removed from the idealized image of the gentle, nurturing 

pacifist beloved of modern day feminists. The Woman of the Varna Marga 

does not fit comfortably into the imagined Utopia of a wondrous prehistoric 

matriarchy ruled by wise, peaceful women posited in the wishful thinking of 

feminist pseudo-historians. 

Nor is the left-hand path exaltation of Shakti a mystical argument for 

the complete equality of men and women - the left-hand path is actually 

based on a deep recognition of the essential differences between male and 

female which are central to every aspect of Varna Marga practice. This is in 


no way a question of inferiority and superiority. It's simply a recognition that 

the masculine and feminine principles are unique phenomena in their own 

right. The left-hand path act of sexual alchemy that creates the spiritual 

androgyne is based on a deliberate conjunction of opposites; such an 

alchemy would be impossible to achieve if it were conducted between forces 

that were basically identical, as modern gender politics insists. 

One need only behold the manifold Shakti in her form of Kali, blood 

dripping from her lips, wearing a necklace of decapitated human heads and 

brandishing a formidable array of death-dealing devices, to understand that 

the Feminine Daemonic informing the left-hand path is not a poster girl for 

feminism. Even less is She a suitable role model for the woman who accepts 

the submissive domesticated roles of traditional wife/mother/daughter. 

Immensely powerful though Shakti in her many forms may be, it would be a 

mistake to confuse this feminine strength with feminist jargon of 

"empowerment"; the left-hand path cannot be politicized so crudely. 

The left-hand path principally honors the nightside of feminine 

power, even in its most extreme bharaivi force of creative destruction. 

Shakti is often said, for example, to possess the force unleashed in 

hurricanes, which are traditionally given women's names. This violent 

quality can be understood in an archaic sense as the savage she-huntress red 

of tooth and claw, or in the more up-to-date cosmic energies of devastation 

witnessed in an atomic explosion. Kali, in one Tantra, is described as 

"shining with the light of ten million suns, although black in color like a 

fresh cloud." The Black Light sought by some Islamic heretic sects in Iran, 

or the Black Flame revered by some modern left-hand path cults in the West 

can be compared to the dark side of Kali-shakti - she is often described as 

an all-devouring black flame. 

European variants of this same bharaivi principle can be found in the 

grim depictions of feminine divinity that haunt ancient Nordic religion. The 

great modern scholar of Northern mythology, Hilda Ellis Davidson, 

describes the Valkyries, or xvaelcyrge ,"the choosers of the slain", in a very 

different light than the familiar Romantic vision of neatly coiffed, blondbraided 

beauties sporting quaint helmets. Davidson paints a grim picture of 

the wild-haired Valkyries haunting the gore-drenched battlefields after 

combat "weaving on a ghastly loom composed of weapons, entrails and 

skulls." The similarity to Kali is striking. 

Lyn Webster Wilde, in her study On The Trail Of The Women 

Warriors provides us with an astute description of Shakti from a feminine 

point of view: 
"Shakti ... evokes a sense of this power that is at once erotic, inexhaustible, 
captivating, terrifying, sensual, annihilating - the divine female in action ... 


it is an active power, and you can see it very clearly in the figurines of the 

snake-goddesses of Crete, or the dancing Parvati statues in your local Indian 

restaurant. It is not the fecund, sleepy, peaceful earth-mother energy beloved 

of sentimental goddess-worshippers. It is the bright, burning, vital power of 

the archetypical feminine, whether expressed in divine or human form." 

Related to this specific aspect of the Feminine Daemonic revered by the lefthand 

path is a very common misapprehension that should be clarified early 

on in our discussion. Many casual practitioners of sex magic in the West 

might erroneously assume that the left-hand path's sexual rites are a remnant 

of the once omnipresent magical utilization of sexual energy to increase the 

fertility of the land, or of the tribe. But these fertility rites, which often took 

the form of orgiastic festivals, once widespread in all pagan cultures, 

actually have nothing to do with the distinctive mode of sexuality activated 

in the sinister current. The primary difference is that such communal sexual 

magic was ordained by religious authorities as a sacred obligation, a kind of 

sacrifice of one's erotic energy for the good of the community. Eros in the 

left-hand path is diverted entirely from its socially approved outlets of 

breeding, perpetuating the human race, and maternity. These nature-bound 

forces of reproductive generation are consciously redirected to the strictly 

personal and psychic goal of individual self-initiation. 

The world's religions have always sought to restrain female sexual 

power to these very limited procreative purposes. Even a cult of sex-hatred 

like exoteric Christianity will allow that female sexuality constrained to 

baby-production is healthy, wholesome and respectable, although any other 

expression of feminine eroticism is condemned as demoniacal. The 

suppression and subduing of shakti energy and its neutralization through 

matrimony and motherhood, is one of the many bonds that the left-hand path 

deliberately breaks. Some women new to left-hand path magical practice 

have trouble clearing the conditioning that would define their principal sexual 

personae as wife and mother, an obstacle which stands in the way of their 

cultivation of the sinister sexuality needed for Varna Marga sorcery and 

initiation. The fertility goddess plays no part in the left-hand path's 

veneration of the Feminine Daemonic. Yes, Kali is the Dark Mother. Yet 
what she gives birth to is the maya of the universe itself, not only biological 

babies. Kali's creation is principally of a magical nature, a non-natural 

generation of the sexual shadow, or khabit, recognised by ancient Egyptian 

soulcraft. (Without the strength of sexual energy amassed in the khabit, the 

Egyptian dead were not believed to be able to cross beyond mortal existence 

- a tenet that mirrors left-hand path practice.) 

The female initiatrix of the sinister current incarnates that 

otherwordly facet of Woman that Man can never possess, subdue or even 

entirely understand. Woman Deified as harlot and virgin, maenad and 


amazon, Valkyrie and succubus - the many masks of the Feminine 

Daemonic. Her sexuality, as unrestrained as it is, is of an ultimately inviolate 

and unattainable magical character, rather than the simply biological 

carnality of Woman as property, that humble creature of the kitchen and the 

nursery. This glorification of the dark side of femininity is so essential to the 

left-hand path, that the reader will have noticed that we listed it as one of the 

most important criteria of the universal sinister current - without woman, 

there can simply be no left-hand path. 

Like all truly numinous powers, the raw shakti energy radiated by the 

female initiatrix cannot be faced easily by the male adept in the beginning 

stages of his initiation. Something of the overwhelming power which shakti 

is afforded in the Varna Marga can be found in other mythological systems. 

The Hellenic Medusa, she of the serpentine head, whose essence is too strong 

for even a hero to gaze upon directly, is a pertinent illustration of the most 

extreme manifestation of the Feminine Daemonic. For that matter, the 

contemporary female initiate in the Western world may well have difficulty 

harnessing the dark side of her femininity essential to the sinister current. 

Pervasive conditioning inculcating the notion that the ideal woman is a mild, 

ladylike, docile creature is not easily reconciled with the fierce power of Kali 

unleashed in the left-hand path. 

All of this reverence for Shakti may seem somewhat abstract. In 

fact, its primary expression is enacted through direct sexual exchange with a 

living female embodiment of the sinister force. Traditional left-hand path 
initiation is always transmitted to a male initiate via ritual intercourse with a 

female preceptor, a link in the chain of an initiated lineage of women 
embodying the vital power of the dark goddess. Underlying this method of 

genital energy transference is an esoteric science teaching that certain 

powerful properties unique only to the aroused female body are secreted in 

her sexual fluids. The power attributed to this female sexual potion is 

comparable to the "medicine of the wise" sought by the European alchemists. 

Coupled with this tangible feminine essence absorbed during sacralized 
coitus is a more subtle flow of shakti flowing from her ecstatically galvanized 

nervous system. 

This form of erotic initiation, in which the male adept is commonly 

coupled with a woman from another caste than his own, frequently breaks 

with India's rigid caste system, increasing the literally "outcast" nature of the 

Varna Marga. 

Above and beyond this breaking of Hindu socioreligious taboo, the 

very centrality of women to left-hand path practice is commonly regarded as 

abhorrent in India. Westerners who have idealized the realities of Indian 

spiritual life have imagined that because of the proliferation of goddesses in 

Indian religion that the feminine principle is more honored in India than in 

the Western world. This is not true; misogyny is rampant in all levels of 

Indian society. In some rural areas, the birth of a girl child is considered to be 
a terrible misfortune and ill omen; female infants are routinely killed, as they 
are considered a worthless blight on the family. The left-hand path's elevation 

of the normally despised female to a role of initiatory power is viewed as 

nothing less than sacrilege. This is especially true in a society that most 

revered religious scriptures allow women only the most subservient of 

capacities, as meek help-mate and breeding device. 

Tantric teaching was the first to condemn the rite of Sad, in which 

widows were religiously obliged to burn themselves upon the death of their 

husbands, because they had supposedly been "polluted". In opposition to 

Vedic tradition and Hindu orthodoxy, the Mahanirvana Tantra states that "a 

wife should not be burnt with her dead husband. Every woman is thy image. 

Thou residest concealed in the forms of all women in this world. That woman 

who in her delusion ascends the funeral pyre of her lord (husband) shall go to 

hell." Also, only the Tantras, of all Indian religious texts, allows for a woman 

to be a spiritual teacher or guru. As one astonished medieval Islamic author 

noted of Tantra, the teaching "favors both sexes equally, and makes no 

distinction between men and women ... this sect calls women shaktis 

(powers) and to ill-treat a shakti - that is, a woman - is held to be a crime." 

This authentic left-hand path veneration of the female, though 
understandably constricted by the overwhelmingly female-negative bias of 
Eastern culture, stands in direct opposition to the frequent phenomenon of 
misogyny observed among many male Western sex magicians, even those 

who call themselves "left-hand path". 

The Right And Left Sides Of The Body 

The double meaning of Varna Marga, as both left-hand path and the 

path of woman is further reinforced in the Tantric understanding that the 

left side of the human body is inherently feminine. There is a standard 

explanation offered in most sources for the meaning of the right- and lefthand 

paths. In right-hand path ritual, a clothed woman symbolically honored 

as the goddess power Shakti is seated to the right of the male initiate. During 

left-hand path erotic rites a partially naked woman venerated sexually as 

Shakti is seated to the left of the male initiate. This is true, as far as it goes, 

but there is much more to the terminology than this oft-cited detail. 

Tantra also recognizes the existence of a non-physical subtle body 

within the physical body, which is said to be driven by the flow of life force 

through three vertical energy channels, the central Susumna, flanked by Ida, 

on the left side of the body and Pingala to the right. Ida is also known as the 

moon channel, just as Pingala is the sun channel, reflecting very ancient 
traditional associations of the left with the feminine power of the moon and 
the right with the masculine energy of the sun. The left-sided Ida is red, the 


right-sided Pingala is white, an important color symbolism in the Indian lefthand 

path which resurfaces again in the ritual intermixture of white semen 

and red menstrual blood in Tantric sexual alchemy. 

There is one significant factor here relevant to the essence of the 

Varna Marga. Tantric teaching states that the energy enters the body through 

the lunar left-channel - the feminine, sinister current - and exits the body 

through the right-solar channel. Traditional left-hand path adepts seek to 

reverse this natural flow though breath control and the strength of their wills. 

The sinister current of dark lunar femininity is considered to be the negative 

polarity ( — ) while the dexter current of solar masculinity is regarded as the 

positive polarity (+). The sexual rites of the left-hand path are traditionally 

performed in accordance with certain phases of the female partner's lunar 

cycle, based on observation of the relation between menstruation and sexual 


The right-hand path initiate is content to preserve the harmony of 

nature. The initiate of the sinister current deliberately causes this river of 

energy to stream in the opposite direction - a god-like action that takes 

control of universal laws and bends them to his or her volition. The body is 

magically understood as the microcosm; by altering the normative course of 

somatic energies, the initiate can also exert a similarly profound influence on 

the macrocosm of the universe itself. By reversing the flow of this subtle 

energy current from masculine right to feminine left, the male left-hand path 

initiate is also said to awaken the feminine divinity within him. 

A Tantric left-hand path understanding of the left side of the body as 

feminine, and the right as masculine was depicted by the ecstatic Tantric poet 

Ramprasad Sen: "the inward River Ganges flows through right-hand regions 

as molten sun, inward River Jumna through left-hand regions as liquid 

moon". Although attempting to reconcile ancient metaphysics with modern 

science can lead one down a slippery slope, it is interesting to compare what 

we currently know of left brain and right brain functions with the Tantric 

map of the body. The right brain, which effects its opposite left side of the 

body, seems to be the seat of the traditionally "feminine" attributes of 

creativity, intuition, ecstasy and magical/poetic thinking - the lunar 

characteristics most associated with left-hand path consciousness and the 

energy of Shakti. The left brain, controlling the right side of the body, is 

apparently the location of reason, logic and analysis - the functions of solar 

"masculine" consciousness. 

It is not irrelevant that left-hand path sexual rites are most commonly 

performed at night by the light of the "feminine" sinister moon, while the 

right-hand path adept is more likely to attend to his spiritual work by day, 

reigned over as it is by the "masculine" sun. In the time when left-hand path 

initiation was a closely guarded secret, some adepts of the Varna Marga 


would practice traditional, socially acceptable Hindu ceremony during the 

day, reserving their left-hand path workings for the cover of night. To this 

day, Varna Marga invocations of the Shakti Kali traditionally take place at 

midnight in abandoned cremation grounds, as specified by Tantric texts. The 

erotic rites of the Chinese left-hand path or Yin-tao (hidden way) were always 

celebrated after midnight. Not surprisingly, the Western Black Arts are 

typically consigned to the hours of darkness as well. Thus, the cliche of the 

Western black magician summoning forth demons in a desolate graveyard 

under a full moon is not out of keeping with the practice of the Eastern lefthand 

path Tantrika. 

A thirteenth century kabbalistic text brought to our attention by a 

colleague makes manifest that the association of leftward-flowing energy 

with female sexual power is not at all exclusive to Tantric sexual magic. 

Rather, it is a ubiquitous feature of the timeless, worldwide sinister current. 

This document, entitled Treatise On The Left Emanation, promises that "I 

shall now teach you a wonderful innovation. You already know that evil 

Samael and wicked Lilith are like a sexual pair who, by means of an 

intermediary, receive an evil and wicked emanation from one and emanate to 

the other." 

Beneath the diabolic symbolism of the arch-succubus Lilith and her 

consort, the angel of death, it's easy to see that this "wonderful innovation" 

appears to be identical to the transference of left- streaming sexual energy at 

the center of Varna Marga sexual initiation from "one ... to the other". This 

text reflects the fact that the Tree of Life that stands at the heart of the 
Kabbalah is also divided into a right/masculine side and a left/female side. 

The Path Of The Deliberate Outcast 

Tantric texts also place emphasis on a third definition of Varna as "contrary". 

This essential aspect of contrariness clarifies that the left-hand path in its 

purest form is always characterized by radical opposition. Its method of 

initiation is based on cultivating estrangement and deliberate alienation from 

divine, natural and human rule. Through an active and positive sacred 

glorification of the radically Other, the walker of the Varna Marga steps 

outside previously secure borders, a self-exiled, self-determined creation of 

his or her own autonomous will. Although many previous authors have 

attempted to whitewash or otherwise downplay the genuinely subversive 


aspect of left-hand path initiation, the aspirant who takes these contrarian 

teachings to heart has engaged on a course of deliberate, even methodical, 

iconoclasm from which there can be no turning back. 

This sacralized separation from established law and custom, 

particularly sexual convention, is not to be confused merely with the empty 

acts of the social rebel - it is instead a god-like disdain for the restrictions 

that bind the uninitiated, a taking of supreme responsibility for one's own 


Because of the freedom from strictures afforded to the sinister 

current initiate, Tantric tradition is adamant that the left-hand path cannot be 

the way for the common person; it demands a heroic constitution. A feeble or 

unprepared mind that briefly tasted the terrifying sovereignty of a semidivine 

consciousness would not be transformed by the experience - at best, 

he or she might become nothing more than an everyday criminal, an 


ultimately powerless identity bound to self-destruct. The aim of the left-hand 

path's contrary nature reaches to a more sublime level of being; the conscious 

separation from familiar boundaries is designed to awaken transhuman 

consciousness. To place this in a perhaps more familiar Western context, it 

might be recalled that Lucifer does not rebel from God's tyranny to simply 

become branded as an outlaw; he is determined to become God instead. 

If Varna is contrariness and the Varna Marg is the elevation of 

contrariness to a spiritual principle, it should be understood that the left-hand 

path can never be a way for those who seek enlightenment through 

tranquillity and serenity. The sinister current is conflict incarnated and its 

illumination is provided by friction - and not just of a sexual kind. Part of 

this spirit of conflict is the intrinsic connection of the left-hand path with the 

ethos of the warrior. 

The Indian left-hand path tradition exalts the black goddess Kali, 

both for her all-consuming erotic power, and her destructive capacity as 

warrior and destroyer of the universe. Outside of that tradition, it is no 

coincidence that many deities venerated by contemporary left-hand path 

magicians, among them the Egyptian Set, the Mesopotamian Ishtar/Babalon, 

the Aztec Tezcatlipoca and the Nordic Odin are principally divinities of war 

- the ultimate expression of contrariness. To go any further into the left-hand 

path's connection with the cultus of the warrior would take us outside the 

erotic parameters of this book. Still, one last point is worth making: there is a 

vast difference between the good soldier who follows orders as a servant of 

the state and the left-hand path Warrior, who fights for his or her own 


Another of the associations of the word Vama and leftwardness in 

India that is often daintily overlooked is its correlation with excrement. In 

India, the left hand is used to clean the anus and has traditionally been 

connected with all that is "unclean". This notion of uncleanliness is 

extremely important to the fastidious Brahmin caste in India and a deliberate 

incorporation of the taboo against shit would be a powerful provocation, a 

typically left-hand path exercise of contrariness in action. It also symbolizes 

that the left-hand path initiate includes - and even actively embraces - 
aspects of existence that orthodox spiritual teachings reject as worthless and 

harmful. The generally prohibited nature of human excrement in almost 
every society emphasizes that the left-hand path has often been regarded as 
something loathsome throughout its history. Along these lines, the radically 
left-hand path Aghora sect has long been notorious for ritual coprophagia - 
the consumption of shit as a sacrament. The left-hand path works within the 
realm of physical matter, seeing the transitory phenomena of "this world", 
including the human body and its pleasures, as fundamentally connected to 

"the other world" of the eternal and divine. Related to the understanding of 


Varna as excrement is its commonly understood meaning of "ejecting". The 

Sanskrit word Vamati = "he vomits" gives us our English word vomit, so 

Varna is also the expulsion of waste products in general. The concepts of 

following the path of leftwardness, the path of woman, the path of 

contrariness all have their appeal - but who wants to follow the path of shit 

and vomit? It has even been speculated that this deterrent quality may be the 

point of this designation, a way of keeping the insincere away from the 


More importantly, although a god-like consciousness is sought on the 

left-hand path, one method of attaining this is by embracing that which is 

despised by conventional morality, deliberately crowning oneself with a 

disgrace that makes it impossible to return to commonly approved standards. 

As the Tantric historian Philip Rawson has commented, "a pride in social 

identity and virtue is the most insidious and crippling of all the mental 

blocks on the road to release. The Tantrika has to commit himself to acts 

which destroy any vestiges of social status and self-esteem." 

To Western psychology, with its simplistic cult of self-esteem, the 

left-hand path adept's systematic eradication of these much cherished 

hindrances must of course seem like madness. But these acts are the very 

steps that lead to left-hand path sovereignty. A crucial phase in seeing 

through the flimsy nature of may a that is the magician's working material is 

experimentation with the arbitrary social roles and standards of status 
through which human animals submissively learn their place in the pecking 

order. The low man or woman on the totem pole must slavishly work to 

impress his betters, struggling to prove what a good citizen and member of 

the tribe he or she is, hoping for a crumb of praise from the master. But the 

sovereign being, the master of his or her fate, can surmount the rules of good 

behavior and respectability that regulate monkey psychology. To challenge 

these social conventions can never be without risk; it is the unflinching 

confrontation with these risks that partially determines the heroic vira 

character of the advanced stage of left-hand path initiation. 

A more recent European interpretation of this aspect of left-hand 

path practice is presented by Peter Tracey Connor in his Georges Bataille 

And The Mysticism Of Sin. Writing of the French mystical pornographer 

Bataille's spiritual inspiration in those "unruly elements ... [that] society 

rejects in order to constitute itself as an orderly and productive body," 

Connor notes that "Everything that is considered abject, from trash, vermin, 

and excreta ... finds its way to the surface in [Batlille's] essays as in his 

fictional works ... the objects he describes, precisely because they have been 

sacrificed to social values, are touched by the 'sacred'." Connor's description 

of Bataille's focus on that zone of being "where the rejected and the 

undesirable dwell", ruled by a "force that disrupts the regular course of 


things" allows us to interpret Bataille as a contemporary Western visionary 

of the left-hand path, to whom we shall return. 

The lowest stage of Varna Marga transformation is the herd-animal 

or pashu, who is as bound by the fetters of "proper conduct" as a beast of 

burden is yoked to its forced labors. The pashu strives to please its owner. 

The hero of the left-hand path has cut the fetters that bind absolutely. 

One of the other enduring reasons for the relatively disreputable and 

subversive position of the left-hand path in the spectrum of Indian spiritual 

teachings is partially a social one, again related to caste. The Tantric Varna 

Marga originated primarily in the ancient traditions of the indigenous 

Dravidian population of the Indian sub-continent, with far less influence 

deriving from the Vedic philosophy of the Brahmanic Indo-European 
conquerors of India. Its apparent historical origins among the lower castes 

has lent this initiatory tradition a socially transgressive character it has never 

wholly lost, which make the heretical female and contrary aspects of the 

sinister current even less palatable to the orthodox. 

Shiva and Shakti, the central divine figures of Tantricism are 

atavistic survivals of deities that predate the Aryan invasion of the Indus 

Valley. As such, despite the reverence accorded them, there is still a certain 

dishonorable aspect to them in the eyes of the average Hindu, especially as 

they are understood in left-handed Tantra. Shiva is a later development of the 

fearsome Rudra the Howler, a turbulent figure presiding over such 
undesirable phenomena as storms, disease, and thieves. Even today, Shiva is 

understood as a patron of all who have stepped outside of society's 

boundaries - from the holy man to the outlaw. In some archaic texts, Shiva is 

referred to as Varna, which could possibly be yet another meaning of Varna 

Marga - the path of Shiva. His connection to a prevalent phallic cult 

censured by the Brahmanic conquerors of India as a loathsome heresy, 

survives in Rudra's remanifestation as Shiva. In Shaivism, the cult of Shiva, 

the lingam is the symbol of the phallus, revered as the principle of formless, 

bodiless consciousness. The Aryan scriptures, known as the Vedas, explicitly 

condemn phallic worship. 

Similarly, Shakti's cult of the yoni, honoring the vulva as the 

embodiment of the kinetic secret power thats charge animates all things can 

be traced to the pre-Aryan sexual veneration of local goddesses in the 
Neolithic age. The imposed religion foisted on the Indus Valley by Aryan 
invaders was centered almost entirely on abstract celestial male divinities. 
The introduction through force of this male pantheon forced the adherents of 
Shakti underground for many centuries, until their revival, first in Hinduism, 
and then in dynamic Tantric form, emerged. As opposed to the masculine, 
solar sky gods revered by the Vedic faith, the most important divinities for 
the original Indian civilization were chthonic goddesses, the multi-formed 


predecessors of shakti. 

Coming and Going - Sex Within Death 

One rejected, unwanted substance that plays a part in traditional Eastern lefthand 

path practice is the dead body, which is accorded a special status in 

Indian culture. Just as much as the left-hand path is concerned with the 

human body at its most vital and creative, during peaks of erotic ecstasy, it 

also teaches an intimate knowledge of the body at its lowest ebb, in the decay 

of death. The antipodal contrast of Sex and Death are just one of the many 

juxtapositions of opposites that constitute the Tantric web, along with its 

most obvious antithesis, the sexual energies of Woman and Man. 

In India, the task of disposing of the dead is given only to the very 

lowest caste. For all other castes, even touching the dead, especially corpses 

of a caste lower than one's self, is considered a spiritual defilement of the 

first order. Those undesirables who are given the dirty work of handling 

human remains are also expected to dispose of the excrement of the castes 

above them. 

Therefore, the left-hand path adept, the gleeful transgressor of all 

accepted boundaries, often makes the "unclean" burning grounds the place 

in which magical rituals and meditation are accomplished. It is not 

uncommon for left-hand path initiates to perform their spiritual work within 

enclosures constructed from human skulls. Such scavenger animals as 

jackals, vultures and ravens, those eaters of the dead that haunt the 

crematory grounds, are frequently associated with the left-hand path, playing 

a role of magical mascot similar to the bestial "familiars" known to 

European witchery. 

The Varna Marga sexual rite is commonly held at night in the 

presence of charred, partially cremated corpses, near the exterminating heat 

of the open funeral pyres. As an exercise in transcending duality, the male 

initiate in this gruesome atmosphere is sometimes instructed to envision 

himself and his perfumed and desirable sexual consort as foul, disintegrating 

corpses, even in the midst of the most delirious physical pleasure. Another 

meditation involves the visualization of one's ritual lover as the fierce Black 

Kali of the graveyards, with her skirt of severed human hands, tearing the 

adept apart during the "death" of orgasm. As Tantrics frequently say, "all 

colors are absorbed into black just as all beings enter into Kali". 

Any attempt to provide a strictly rational explanation for the lefthand 

contemplation of death-within-sex must fall wide of the mark. To an 

extent, these actions are intended to break through the mind's endlessly 

rationalizing tendency to categorize opposing forces into tidy, discrete 

departments, allowing an understanding that such contrasting phenomena as 

sex/death and desire/disgust are actually not the opposites they normally 


appear to be. Beyond this, the sinister current's mingling of the morbid and 

the erotic is designed to build up the adept's fearlessness in the face of all 

sensory manifestations. Beauty and horror, pleasure and pain, joy and 

sorrow are perceived as interwoven strands in the tapestry of maya. 

Notably, Westerners who have been eager to adopt the pleasant 

sexual aspect of left-hand path rites into their practice rarely incorporate the 

equally important focus on death that characterizes the authentic left-hand 

path. Initiation through physical joy and ecstasy is an important part of the 

Varna Marga. Nevertheless, it is ever balanced with the initiatory ordeal of 

terror through close confrontation with death. It is the radical expression of 

dissent from normative, socially acceptable values that this Varna Marga 

embrace of the rejected aspects of existence must entail that separates the 

intellectual dilettante attracted to some of the left-hand path's more 
fashionable outer features from the genuine initiate dedicated to radical 


The Kali Yuga 

Tantra, and especially its left-hand path, are thought to mark such a radical 

departure from previous initiatory teachings that it is said that the Vama 

Marga is a form of illumination suitable only for the specific historic 

conditions that prevail in this period of time. 

Specifically, the left-hand path is geared to the unique demands of 

this present age of darkness and dissolution - Kali Yuga, or the Aeon of 

Kali. According to the Vishnu Puruna, the world will have fallen under Kali 

Yuga's shadow "when society reaches a stage where property confers rank, 

wealth becomes the only source of virtue, passion the sole bond of union 

between husband and wife, falsehood the source of success in life, sex the 

only means of enjoyment, and when outer trappings are confused with inner 

religion." From an exoteric perspective, taking things at face value, the 

established goal of the Tantric sinister current is to provide a method of 

illumination suitable for the era of chaos, violence, massive social 

breakdown and spiritual ignorance in which we undisputedly find 


Left-hand path metaphysical chronology would have it that 

mankind has already been operating under such diminished spiritual 

circumstances for many thousands of years, with no end in sight for at least 

another 200,000 years. Only then will Kali's sinister era run its course to 

ultimate destruction and unthinkable terminal horrors. Shiva's alldestroying 

eye will then open, awakening from the absurd nightmare of 

history. However, this doom is not to be understood in a linear manner; 

from the ashes of the cremation grounds will come an eventual renewal; 

and the whole cycle will begin yet again, as it has for eternity. 



These harsh observations of life in the Kali Yuga are not made by 

Tantrikas in the spirit of moral condemnation. They are primarily a 

practical acknowledgment of the character of our time. Under such severe 

circumstances, the Tantras ask, what methods of initiation could possibly be 

effective? Their answer is that only Tantra and the radical measures of the 

left-hand path can provide an appropriate way of illumination for those who 

live in Kali's dark age. So tenacious an epidemic demands strong medicine; 

extreme times call for extreme measures. In this sense, it is often said 

elliptically by Tantrics that poison is the only cure for poison. 

In this spirit of the Kali Yuga, what past orthodoxies have banned 

as dangerous, the left-hand path Tantrika cheerfully brings upon his or her 

self. Thus, it is often said of left-hand path adepts that they "work with the 

venomous snake", "ride upon the tiger", and "walk upon the sword." But 

characteristic of the multi-layered Tantric approach, nothing in the swirling 

inconstancy of maya can be perceived only from one perspective; there are 

- at the very least - two ways of looking at the Kali Yuga; the outer 

exoteric, and the inner esoteric, the bipolar interior and external forms that 

manifest so frequently within left-hand path thought . 

Kali Yuga is thought to be the last era, an Iron Age concluding a 

cyclic succession of four Aeons which began with the long-forgotten Satya 

Yuga, or Golden Age, many millennia ago. For the Tantricist, the divinely 

ordained teachings of austerity, asceticism and self-denial which informed 

the Golden Age are now devoid of meaning, and the holy scriptures which 

once guided mankind's spiritual development are nothing more than dead 

letters on a page. The Mahanirvana Tantra tells us that in this Kali Yuga, all 

of the sacred texts of the past are "as impotent as venomless snakes, and are, 

as it were, dead." Furthermore, the refined spiritual teachings of the Golden 

Age would be useless for humans of this Aeon, who are pitilessly described 

as "without restraint; maddened with pride, ever given over to sinful acts; 

lustful, gluttonous, cruel, heartless, harsh of speech, deceitful, short-lived." 

The doorway to illumination in the Iron Kali Yuga is only through 

the very actions that were previously condemned. Thus, the left-hand path 

initiate frequently seeks liberation in forlorn places haunted by death, and 

through deliberately confronting that which inspires terror and fear. He or 

she who knows that this is Kali's time embraces what the unawakened mind 

would recoil from as "negative", transforming such rejected phenomena into 

holiness itself. The adept attuned to the reality of the Kali Yuga realizes that 

the Absolute and divine is manifest in the totality of experience, including - 

perhaps especially - those worldly delights and pleasures of the senses 

castigated by ascetic paths of initiation. This includes the erotic reintegration 

of the male and female polarities. More precisely, Woman herself, who is 

the living incarnation of Kali-energy on the planet, is now the gateway to 


initiation. The initiate in the Kali Yuga cannot attain the supreme state of 

consciousness by turning away from this disintegrating and disordered 

world, or dismissing maya's manifestations as senseless illusion, as previous 

spiritual schools recommended. 

Orthodox Eastern spiritual teachings have insisted that moksha, or 

liberation, can only be apprehended when the initiate has rejected all 

experiences of this physical world as delusive traps to be avoided at all 

costs. This is often accomplished by a deliberate dwelling on the supposedly 

dreadful state of things in the human sphere. This negation is frequently 

expressed in Buddhist writings that bemoan this wheel of suffering with the 

happy refrain that sarvam dukham - all is misery. Most miserable of all, we 

are led to believe, is the ravenous demon Kama (desire) which causes us to 

be attached to this illusory shell of flesh. Traditional Buddhism and 

Hinduism utter a furious "No!" to maya, seeking total obliteration in the 

blinding white light of nirvana. 
This creed of oblivion is countered by the Tantric left-hand path, 

whose adherents positively exult in the play of maya, whether that play takes 

the form of the intense delights of erotic initiation or the horrors of the 
cremation ground. Rather than repudiating the world, the Tantric initiate of 

the Kali Yuga makes active use of every aspect of its phenomena, 

transforming all facets of existence into fuel for illumination. This joyous 

acceptance of all spheres of reality - including those conventionally judged 

to be harmful or delusive - as equally valid, is Kali Yuga's antidote to the 

sickness of world-negation, an affirmation of maya that condones the 
previously denounced cultivation of magical powers and sexual ecstasy. 

What the uninitiated draw from in loathing or shame, the Varna 

Marga adept regards as the fascinating dance carried out by Shiva and his 

shakti Kali. It is often mistakenly presumed that to accept the reality of Kali 

Yuga is to sink into the powerless pessimism of the doomsday fatalist. On 

the contrary, the attitude of the walker of the left-hand path in the Kali Yuga 

is one of sheer delight. Consider the image of Kali herself in this regard; 

violent, chaotic, bejeweled with skulls and decapitated heads, her lolling 

tongue promising both blood thirst and carnal abandon. And yet, the walker 

of the Varna Marga loves this vision of incarnate chaos with the same 

passion with which he or she embraces her age of terrors. 

Even when confronted with the sometimes nightmarish nature of existence in 

the Kali Yuga, the left-hand path adept never loses a deep sense of sacred 

play, mirroring the play of the gods. The Sanskrit word Ma (play) is often 

used in Indian mythology to describe the spirit of divine play which informs 

the erotic liaisons of the gods and goddesses, as well as the aloof but always 

light touch they maintain when creating and destroying whole universes 

through their deft toying with maya. 



The Western mind can grasp something of the affirmative attitude of 

the Kali Yugic left-hand path to existence by comparing it to Friedrich 

Nietzsche's declaration in The Gay Science, that he wants only to be a "Ja- 

Sagender", a "Yes-sayer". Nietzsche's injunction in his The Twilight of the 

Idols to "[stand] in the midst of the universe with a joyful and trusting 

fatalism" accepting that "in the totality everything is redeemed and affirmed 

- he no longer denies. " is a fundamentally Tantric philosophy. Nietzsche, 

interestingly, anti-christened such an attitude "Dionysian", invoking that 

androgynous god of ecstatic dance and divine intoxication whose striking 

concurrence with left-hand path metaphysics we will explore later. 

One of the open secrets of the Kali Yuga is that those initiated into its 

inner mysteries welcome it as the true Golden Age, seeing beyond its 

despised Iron veneer through an act of visionary alchemy. The lowest 

conceals the all-highest. 

To contrast the Kali Yugic approach to initiation with its antithesis, 

the Tantric left-hand path specifically repudiates the Buddhist teaching that 

Desire (kama) is the greatest obstacle to spiritual freedom. On the contrary, 

deliberately awakening the full intensity of erotic desire and lust whilst in a 

state of willed lucidity is perceived as a key to self-deification in the Kali 

Yuga. It is important to understand that we are not speaking here of the 

everyday, somnolent sexuality which fetters most human beings in its 

compulsive grasp. The left-hand path adept seeks a transcendent Eros yoked 

to the control of an awakened mind. 

After all, millions of creatures in the Kali Yuga indulge in a thousand 

forms of pleasuring themselves. And yet the common pleasures of the 

uninitiated cannot be said to lead to liberation or self-deification - these acts, 

no matter how ecstatic, merely provide a temporary release or distraction 

from the human condition. As we shall see when we examine the traditional 

qualifications required for induction into the Tantric left-hand path, the Varna 

Marga is not suited for the merely bestial condition of most human beings, 

who react to their lusts and appetites like so many Pavlovian dogs. 

And yet, despite these qualifications, this is an amoral vision utterly 

transcendent of such dualities as higher and lower, good and bad, body and 

soul; the energy of Shakti is viscerally experienced through sexual rites as the 

ground of all being. Mastery of sexual energy, understood as the core 

constituent of the human lifestream in the carnal vehicle, is regarded as the 

hidden passage to liberation. This ceaselessly transforming erotic energy is 

manipulated by left-hand path sex magicians in their quest for total, god-like 

autonomy in this world. It is taught that harnessing this energy would be 

impossible for most human beings, who would only be overwhelmed by an 

encounter with the terrifying nature of the principal divine energy who 

presides over the Kali Yuga - the goddess Kali. During this Aeon, the lunar, 

sinister current of the Feminine Daemonic is at its zenith, a spiritual 

condition which allows for the breaking up of all boundaries and the free play 

of creative chaos, unrestricted by the male ordering principle. 

Western magicians first approaching the left-hand path frequently 

find the Sanskrit terminology and culturally alien form of the Indian Varna 

Marga and Kali Yuga to be overly abstruse. However, visionaries in every 

culture and in every era have spontaneously recorded revelations 

demonstrating the universal and transcultural omnipresence of the left-hand 

path, even though they have no awareness of the Tantric teachings. In the 

Western world, we have found that the most relevant transmissions of 

authentic left-hand path initiation have been conveyed not from occultists but 

through the mediumistic abilities of artists. Consider the following passage 

from the British poet William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell, 

written in 1790. Although it is unlikely that Blake knew anything of the 

traditional left-hand path concept of shakti energy, he luminously illustrates 

the essence of the sinister current all the same, providing us with a genuine 

Western Tantra: 
"All bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following errors: 

1. That man has two real existing principles: viz: a body & a soul. 
2. That energy, called evil, is alone from the body: & that reason, called 

good, is alone from the soul. 

But the following contraries to these are true: 

1. Man has no body distinct from his soul; for that called body is a 

portion of the soul discerned by the five senses, the chief inlets of 

soul in this age. 
2. Energy is the only life, and is from the body; and reason is the bound 

or outward circumference of energy. 

3. Energy is Eternal Delight." 

It is interesting that Blake describes the five senses as the "chief inlets of 

soul in this age"; Tantra also specifically acknowledges that the senses are 

the tools of initiation best suited for the current Kali Yuga. Two Tantric 

texts, the Kalivilasa Tantra and the Mahanirvana Tantra, indicate that the 

tremendous surge of wild feminine erotic energy that 



is incarnated as Kali can only be openly applied to initiation in her shadowy 

Aeon. In previous Aeons, according to these Tantras, the sinister teachings 

of illumination and self-deification via the flesh were concealed to prevent 

mankind from abusing these potentially dangerous procedures. Now, the veil 

can be lifted, for the once secret and forbidden left-hand path is seen to be 

the most germane method of awakening in this era of darkness. The ancient 

prohibitions have been rendered null and void by the advent of Kali's time of 

chaos - what was once considered unholy is now sacred; all prevailing 

standards are reversed. 
Such is the strictly exoteric meaning of the Kali Yuga. The left-hand 

path magician, however, penetrates deeper than these outer appearances, 
pursuing the direct apprehension of the interior significance of the traditional 
symbolism of all mythologies. From the initiatic point of view, transcendent 

of time, the Kali Yuga of dissolution and the earlier Golden Age of 

perfection are understood as symbolic forms representing levels of initiatory 

being, rather than actual periods located within time. This is true of all of the 

Aeonic eras posited by the world's mythologies. 

In the Apocalypse of Christian tradition, for example, we find a time 

much like the Kali Yuga, which is said to be ruled by chaos, discord, and the 

breaking of divine law. Just as Kali is the presiding divinity of the Tantric 

Aeon, the Whore of Babylon, another nightside symbol of the Feminine 

Daemonic, is said to reign over the Apocalypse, or apokolypis (time of 

revelation). Primitive, literal-minded Christian sects have been awaiting the 

prophesied end times - with its foretold advent of the Whore and the 

Antichrist - for thousands of years, failing to understand that exactly like the 

Kali Yuga, the end of the world they so fearfully anticipate is an initiatory 

state of mind. 

Other mythologies provide us with analogous ages of darkness and 

destruction, accepted as historical incidents by the literal-minded, but 

fathomed as inner transformations by initiates. The Ragnarok or Fatal 

Destiny, of Nordic tradition - perhaps more commonly known as the 

Gotterdammerung, or Twilight of the Gods - tells of a time when the dread 

Fenris Wolf will be unleashed by the sinister Loki to swallow the sun, thus 

destroying the world of men and gods, who await their fated doom with 

horror. Like the Kali Yuga, the Ragnarok is described as a time when men 

break all bonds of honor, brother fights with brother, and the time-honored 

spiritual laws of troth are neglected. Just as Kali and other wrathful and 

terrifying deities achieve their fullest power in the Kali Yuga, so does 

Ragnarok free the fettered monstrous brood of the disobedient trickster Loki 

to subvert the established order of the gods. 

Similarly, the Aztec priests of Mexico taught that in the fearful time 

of the Fifth Sun, the cosmos itself would be exterminated. From an esoteric 


left-hand path vantage point, all of these seemingly external periods of 

desolation are welcomed, and even enthusiastically brought about, as they 

are recognized as internal processes of extreme self-metamorphosis, 

destroying established realities to willfully create new states of being. 

The Sanskrit word Yuga, like the Greek word Aion, used within the 

Gnostic tradition, can superficially be understood as an era of time. Even 

more fundamentally, it is a psychic phenomenon, an eternal state that 

actually exists outside of time. Aleister Crowley's Aeon of Horus, 

proclaimed by him in 1904 CE, has created some confusion on this point in 

Western magical circles, since Crowley literally - and incorrectly - 
understood an Aeon to be a chronological era, a particular juncture in linear 


Furthermore, to accept the notion of the Kali Yuga as an objective 

event hardly seems supported by history. Humanity appears to have been 

equally dead set on its own destruction in all periods of time - and no 

evidence of a wondrous Satya Yuga, or Golden Age, seems to present itself. 

The good old days never happened - any study of humanity's relatively brief 

transit on this planet will reveal that homo sapiens is no more spiritually 

ignorant, violent, insane or chaotic in this current period than in all of the 

bloodstained pages of history that have preceded us. Therefore, when the lefthand 

path magician acknowledges that he or she is living in the Iron Age of 

Kali Yuga, and that the left-hand path is the most appropriate means of 

initiation for this Aeon, this must be understood as esoteric truth, transmitted 

in the language of mythological symbolism, rather than the kind of "truth" 

one might read in the morning newspaper. Something more profound than 

historical actuality is being invoked. 




Initiation In The Left-Hand Path 

Playing With Maya - Left-Hand Path Magic 

One of the most welcome aspects of the left-hand path philosophy to the 
Western sex magician is the bridge it provides between sorcery and initiation. 

It seems unlikely that anyone with a gift for sexual sorcery would not 
eventually be confronted with the essential existential dilemma of the mystic, 

just as a mystic of any profundity cannot but help to awaken a talent for 
sorcery as a side-effect of his or her search. Most traditional Eastern spiritual 

schools teach that these magical side-effects should be strictly ignored as 

unessential to the goal of illuminated apprehension of reality, since they are 

dismissed as mere distractionary illusion. Likewise, many Western magicians 

prefer to totally disregard any mystical implications raised by their work, 

concentrating exclusively on the material results of their sorcery. 

The mystical and the magical both have their place in the left-hand 

path approach to initiation, since it is a unique aspect of the Tantric 

philosophy that there is no real difference between the transient 

manifestations of the physical world and the eternal world of absolute reality. 

These seemingly different dimensions are understood to be intrinsically 

connected, flip sides of the same phenomena, which is why the Varna Marga 

teaches liberation through the things of this world, including the pleasures of 

the flesh. But Tantra, unlike other initiatory disciplines, is not restricted to the 

pursuit of spiritual liberation. The practice of magic, the playful manipulation 

of the universe-creating substance known as maya, and the cultivation of 

those supernormal mental powers known in Sanskrit as siddhis, are all 

accepted as perfectly legitimate initiatory pursuits within the left-hand path 

discipline. None of the moral judgments against magic that inhibit other 

teachings taint the Tantric approach, which is one of the reasons Tantrikas 

are eyed with some suspicion by orthodox Hindus to this day. Tantric magic, 

especially sexual left-hand path magic, is condemned as Abichara, which 

carries the same connotations that "black magic" suggests to the Westerner. 

Magic, through Tantric eyes, is the exclusive domain of the feminine. 

Not that only women are capable of magical prowess but that magicians of 

both genders draw on a feminine shakti power thought to be especially potent 

at night when altering maya through their sorcery. Shakti, when seen as the 

physical universe, can also be thought of as maya itself, the uncanny material 


with which all magicians work to create their realities. As creatrix of all the 

forms composed of dynamic shifting energy that make up seeming reality, 

Shakti is known as Maya-Shakti. The eternal concepts of feminine 

enchantment, fascination, and seduction thus play a crucial role in all lefthand 

path magic, regardless of the gender of the magician. Maya-Shakti - in 

one of those mind-boggling juxtapositions of seeming opposites-in-one that 

radiate from the Tantric stream - is both the liberating force that awakens the 

initiate to absolute reality and the "all-bewildering" enchantress who veils 

that reality with her captivating, seductive, and horrifying dance of infinite 

appearances. The worldwide archetype of the witch casting her enchantments 

at midnight is a universal symbol reflecting the Tantric left-hand path 
connection between nocturnal sorcery and shakti - midnight finds the sinister 

feminine power at its height of intensity. 

Adepts of the Varna Marga claim that sustaining and "riding the 

tiger" of bliss created through the repeated performance of sacred sexual 

union in the Panchatattva rite - which we will explain in detail in the next 

chapter - eventually bestows upon the adept certain siddhis, or magical 

abilities. These sorcerous skills are said to be engineered within the 

interconnected complex of the physical, subtle and causal bodies by drawing 

kundalini energy into the brain during extended orgasm, and absorption of 

the female sexual partner's erotically heightened shakti power. Or, in 

simpler, more prosaic terms, the specific altered states of consciousness 

attainable through prolonged ritual sex open the mind to magical ability. 

Among these are the ability to bring other minds under one's own 

mental control, and an ability to fascinate which Westerners have often 

compared to hypnotism and mesmerism. The power of telepathy, and the 

transference of thoughts into the mind of others is also commonly 

engineered through sexual rites of the left-hand path. Spontaneous telepathy 

is commonly experienced between left-hand path sexual partners, and 

celebrants who enjoy an especially good rapport can often develop this 

talent by practicing on each other. 

Readers familiar with the Western caricature of "egoless" Eastern 

spiritual practice may wonder how an egoless being can - or would want to 

- perform magic. This misunderstanding is often based on a common 

Western assumption that what is referred to in English as the "ego" is 

equivalent to the self. In fact, the destruction of the illusory aspects of 

socially conditioned personality actively sought through Varna Marga 

procedures is intended to clear the dust away from the will of the true self, 

allowing awakened action in the world. It does not mean that the initiate is 

left as a zombie without a will, as has been so frequently misreported. 

Exercise and control of the personal will through magic is one 

aspect of the left-hand path adept's effort to fully understand maya. Granted 


to the sexual adepts of the sinister current are such magical abilities as 

maranam, the power to destroy, ucchatanam, the power to banish magic cast 

against the adept by hostile magicians, and vasikaranam, the establishment of 

psychic control over other humans. Traditionally, the left-hand path 
recognizes six "malevolent rites". Obviously, the spectrum of maya-shifting 
operations open to the left-hand path magus is not limited to these six modes 

of sorcery. The necromantic use of recently deceased spirits for magical 
purposes is also frequently observed, especially among the Aghori sect of the 

Varna Marga, of whom more later. The yoking of the wills of a male and 
female adept during the shared altered state of consciousness created by ritual 
copulation is the primary medium through which these - and many other acts 

of erotic sorcery - are accomplished. 

Probably the most commonly encountered Western model of the 

magician's relation to the universe posits the active, living will of the 

magician manipulating a cosmos which is fundamentally dead, mindless and 

inert. In this prototype, the magician is merely pulling the strings of a static 

creation, a sterile concept inherited in part from the Biblical concept of the 

human being as the great master of a world utterly alien - and wholly inferior 

- to him. 

The left-hand path practice of sexual magic suggests a very different 

connection between magus and cosmos, one that ecstatically rejects the 

theory of a simple causal relation between the magician's kinetic force and 

the immobile object he or she wishes to transform. Left-hand path sex magic 

is based instead on the concept of magical creation as the joyful process of 

play or Ma, in which the magician seduces, - and is seduced - by maya to 

create the desired alterations of reality he or she desires. 

Left-hand path sexual magic creates play in the universe, understood 

not as a fixed, perfected and inert creation but as an incessantly adaptable 

living force, a work in progress that can be endlessly adjusted, subject to the 

sport of the sorcerer. The Varna Marga sex magician transforms this force 

primarily through ritualized orgasm and recreation of the act that sustains 

the universe. Diverting the physiological and spiritual life-force which is 

usually expended in procreation or momentary sexual relief into prolonged 

rapture is the method through which the mayin of the left-hand path effects 

this god-like ability to change the seemingly unchangeable. Key to this fluid 

interaction between the mind of the perceiver and that which is perceived is 

an understanding of endless, cyclical time that transcends the limits of the 

straight line into which mundane consciousness is locked. But the magically 

charged orgasm is only one of the left-hand path techniques of opening the 

door to this time outside of time in which maya can be most potently 

The outside observer watching a rite of traditional left-hand path 


magic would see almost nothing to indicate the all-important internal 

process of maya- alteration taking place. To be sure, the sexual union that 

this theoretical voyeur would witness is carried out with far more 

deliberation than the ordinary satiation of lust. The chanting of unintelligible 

mantras by the sexual partners would clearly not be the usual expression of 

endearments associated with sex. The systematic breathing (pranayama) 

engaged in throughout the rite would not be the uncontrolled panting of the 

normal couple hurtling toward orgasm. But what could not be observed is 

one of the key factors of Varna Marga sorcery: the disciplined mastery of 

the human image-creating function generated by the feminine maya-stuff of 


Maya, imagery and magic - these three interconnected words come 

together during the activation of sexual sorcery. Left-hand path magicians 

perform the divine deed of recreating the world according to will through 

mental image alteration empowered by enhanced sexual bliss. To call this 

process "visualization" is to trivialize the absolute realism that is attained, an 

inner realism which is then reflected in the outer mirror of maya. We will 

return to the development and application of this integral Varna Marga 

technique in Chapter Nine. For now, it suffices to say that left-hand path 

magic is based on the theory that the seemingly ethereal and subjective 

electrical impulses of thought brought about during heightened sexual 

ecstasy form an energy that can take on mass in the objective universe. 

In defiance of the religious edict that only the Gods have the right 

to change the universe They created, the left-hand path magician takes on 

the role of co-creator. Although only great discipline can train the bodymind 

to effect magical change through the application of Eros, the sex 

magician never gets very far from the idea of divine play, the Ma through 

which Shiva/Shakti's endless copulation creates and destroys the world of 

appearances. The grim, austere magic practiced by many initiatory groups is 

quite foreign to this idea. Even Kali, the most terrifying of the deities 

revered by left-hand path adepts, is often portrayed in the throes of wild 

laughter, as if she is infinitely amused by the cosmos. The darkest 

manifestations of the Kali Yuga are only the forms of her ecstatic game of 

Ma, a consciousness the magician can attain in the joy of the sexual rite. 

The force of controlled orgasm during the maithuna rite of sexual 

union may also be used to temporarily release the subtle body from its 

physical sheath, allowing the adept's consciousness a deliberate "out-of-body 

experience." The subtle, or etheric, body is described as leaving the physical 

body from an aperture at the crown of the skull known as the brahmarudhra, 

"the gateway of Brahma". This cranial passage is sometimes thought to be 

related to the opening in a newborn's skull which closes in the first three 

years of life, known colloquially as the "soft spot." This notion is not unique 

to left-hand path magical practice; the Sikhs also consider this area to be a 

conduit to the spiritual realm, just as the Middle Eastern custom of covering 
the head in places of prayer derives from an ancient idea that demonic forces 

can enter the body through this orifice. 

Many a non-magician has accidentally experienced the detachment 

of the subtle body from the physical body as the result of a powerful orgasm, 

or any shock to the system, an experience which can be profoundly unsettling 

for a consciousness unprepared for such a violent breach of mind from body. 

As the magician's dense body enters a state of post-coital death-like trance, 

his or her subtle body - sometimes known as the astral body in Western lore 

- is free to explore the realms beyond waking awareness. Perhaps the most 

fantastic of the siddhis performed in this state is the reputed ability to project 

the sorcerer's subtle body and consciousness into the physical body of 

another human being. 

Most frequently, this practice is attempted with the sleeping or the 

magically unprotected. However, a necromantic form exists in which the 

sorcerer strives to enter the bodies of the dead. During such operations, the 

sexual partner of the magician is given the task of guarding the physical body 

of the adept who has departed. One of the supposed dangers of this procedure 

is a likelihood that unwelcome discarnate entities, - or the subtle bodies of 

other magicians - may enter the "unoccupied" body left behind whilst the 

magician's consciousness is wandering. The result of such a possession, 

according to tradition, would be that the departed magician would be barred 

from returning to his or her own physical body. The outward result of such an 

obstruction can be madness or physical death. 

Left-hand path practice in Tibet - at least before the Communist 

Chinese invasion forcefully disrupted the lineage of teachers instructing 

initiates in these arts - uses the altered states of consciousness accessed 

through erotic junction with the shakti for the development of magical skills 

condemned by conventional religionists and right-hand path Tantricists alike 

as being of a "black magical" disposition. The power of dragpo, or "the 
wrathful", is especially notorious, as adepts possessing this siddhi profess to 
be able to cause unendurable pain or physical death in a chosen subject from 
a great distance. Of the sexual sorcerer using dragpo is in an especially good 
mood, he or she may only choose to remove the targeted individual's ability 
to speak.) Bangxva allegedly permits the sorcerer to attract desired partners, 
among other skills, by gaining control over hidden forces revealed to him or 

her during ritually machinated ecstasy. Gyaispa is concerned with the 

traditional Faustian goals of attaining riches, knowledge, and fame - material 

gratifications of kama or desire scorned by traditional Buddhist teaching in 

Tibet. There is no doubt that such sorcery is often performed by Tibetan 
Tantrics for the sole purpose of simply fulfilling personal desires. But these 
siddhis are also exhibited to students at certain stages in their initiation as a 


traumatic lesson in the flexibility of reality. 

As Buddhists in particular seek to expunge their attachment to 

worldly things, thus freeing himself forever from rebirth into this world, all 

of these left-hand path siddhis are considered extremely harmful to the adept 

practicing them by orthodox Buddhist monks from the Tibetan lamaist 


Although the attainment of magical powers through sexual 

initiation in Buddhism is customarily associated with the rise of Tantra in 

medieval Tibet, it is almost certain that such sex-magical operations were 

already known to the indigenous and shamanistic Bon religion of pre- 

Buddhist Tibet. As in India, many atavistic magical traditions of a 

supposedly amoral or anti-social nature are rather arbitrarily assigned to the 

left-hand path. Bon, shrouded in mystery and condemned by Tibetan 

Buddhists as a "demonic" practice - much as the Catholic Church vilified 

survivals of European paganism as the work of the Devil - actually seems to 

be a survival of the Mithraic cult, which reached Tibet by way of Iran. 

As we have seen, the majority of Eastern spiritual teachings insist 

that the initiate must recognize the deceptive and negative nature of maya, 

and break from its hypnotizing snares. In contrast, the left-hand path 

magician is encouraged to partake of the same god-like powers of the mayin, 

transforming the stuff of reality in accordance with his or her will. Maya, 

then, is the medium with which left-hand path magicians practice their art. 

With practice and discipline, the magician, a juggler of reality, can learn to 

play with maya with the same dexterity that a sculptor shapes clay, molding 

the elusive material of manifestation according to will. 

After a few years of demonstrating just how malleable this medium 

is, you would think that the magician would come to realize just how 

illusory the substance of the world he or she continually alters - and even 

the mind of the magician itself - really is. And yet this moment of 

awakening rarely comes - the psyche clings so dearly to the reassuring 

solidity of phenomena and thought that even the jolt of magic cannot always 

free the tenacious grip. 

Many Western magicians do not progress beyond the resultsoriented 

play of sorcery to the deeper regions of initiation, in which 

questions of identity and the nature of core reality itself become essential. 

Once sorcery is mastered, most Western magicians remain fixated on 

playing with seemingly external reality for decades, as if the data that is 

delivered to their senses can actually be considered an "objective" reality, in 

the traditional scientific sense so beloved of the nineteenth and twentieth 

centuries. Even though he or she has demonstrated that willed manipulation 

of that same sensory data can radically transform reality, very few are 

willing to take the next step of initiation. 

This would be as absurd as if those who had come to see that the 

shadows on Plato's theoretical cave were nothing more than shadows 

continued to stubbornly treat them as reality, even after their release into the 

light outside the cave. In the early twentieth century Tantric text 

Tantratattva, we are provided with a relevant metaphor suitable for a lefthand 

path understanding of magical reality. The author compares the 

awakened initiate's perspective to a theatergoer. The other members of the 

audience react to the events they perceive occurring on the stage as if they 

were really happening, having no awareness of the art of acting. The lefthand 

path magician knows that what he or she observes on the world's stage 
is only an elaborate make-believe, although it is a make-believe interpreted 

with utter seriousness by those watching it. Beyond the border of the 

obviously magical, this common human inability to differentiate between the 

maya of "theater" and "reality" has been infinitely exploited by politicians, 

advertisers, propagandists and other professional deceivers. 

It is a keystone of our understanding of magic's underlying identity 

with maya that magic is not a comfortable niche to be settled into forever. 

Instead, it is a transitional vehicle, a means to an end. Magic can be the 

awakening agent that frees its practitioner from certain illusions, allowing the 

flash of insight that transcends all philosophical inquiry. Through magic, the 

mind can learn that there is not one indisputable reality. There is an endless 

multiplicity of realities, none of them ultimately subject to categorization or 

label. The direct confrontation with maya that sorcery allows might be said to 

be magic's primary objective. It is this confrontation that permits the sorcerer 

to viscerally understand how deeply his or her own shifting subjective 

overlays influence that which he or she perceives - an understanding that 

may hasten the transformation of human sentience to divine consciousness. 

Just as likely, it must be said, magic can become a self-delusive trap 

of its own, an addictive activity binding the magician ever more deeply to the 

maya mirages he or she projects. This is the double nature of Maya, who 

blinds and reveals with each alternating step of her sinuous movement 

through time. 

Mantra - A Form Of Sonic Magic 

Traditional left-hand path magic in both its Indian and Tibetan branches is 

intrinsically bound up with the mantric science, and each phase of the lefthand 

path sexual rite is accompanied by the vocalization of appropriate 

mantras. The word mantra has been translated as "thinking tool", which 

provides an apt technical definition of these sounds or words, provided by 

guru to student as an aid to consciousness alteration. 

It is believed by both left-hand path and right-hand path Tantrikas 

that specific sound vibrations spoken (struck sound) or merely thought 

(unstruck sound) can transform internal and external reality - a concept not 

dissimilar to the Western magician's incantations. Indeed, the mantras known 


as dharanis are often thought of as "spells". Tantra teaches that the fabric of 

this entire material universe is formed from the utterance of certain 

primordial vibrations or tones. 

Our emphasis throughout this book on the importance to the lefthand 

path magician of understanding exact word meanings can then be 

understood as a fundamentally Tantric concept; the precise manipulation of 

sounds and words is a magical tool that controls the seen and the subtle 

dimensions. So important is mantra to Tantricism that the Buddhist variation 

of Tantra is often known simply as mantrayama. 

As the sexual rite unfolds, the Varna Marga yogi or yogini 

traditionally intones specific mantras suitable to each juncture of the 

operation, either speaking them aloud or thinking them internally. Many of 

these mantras convey coded sex-magical symbolism. For instance, the 

Tibetan Om Mani Padmi Hum, probably the Tantric Buddhist mantra best 

known throughout the West, translates as "the jewel is in the lotus". The 

jewel symbolizes the penis or lingam and the lotus symbolizes the vagina or 

yoni; their union in coitus represents the divine intercourse of the masculine 

and feminine principle so important to sinister current initiation. Another 

mantra of special importance to the Indian left-hand path is the vocal 

vibration Klim, which embodies the hidden power unleashed through sexual 

coupling. The repetitive Ajapa mantra is uttered by simply inhaling and 

exhaling, a process which is said to vibrate "hung-sah, hung-sah"; the preverbal 

sound of the breath being drawn in and out. This mantra is a magical 
recreation within the body of the inhaling and exhaling of the universecreating 

force, an act of merged creation and destruction. 

Readers familiar with the Hermetic tradition of ceremonial magic 

may profitably compare the left-hand path use of mantras with the uttering 

of "barbarous names" in the rituals of that tradition, or the Enochian 

language developed by Dr. John Dee. All are forms of sonic magic that work 

upon the hidden interstices of mind and matter, their potency all the greater 

for their very unintelligibility to the waking consciousness. Dismissed by 

non-magicians as nonsensical noises without meaning, the mantra speaks to 

levels of reality impenetrable to rational expression. Aleister Crowley, 

whose poetic pursuits made him more sensitive than most magicians to the 

magic of the word, commented that "the long strings of formidable words 

which roar and moan through so many conjurations have a real effect in 

exalting the consciousness of the magician to the proper pitch." 

Much of the force of the left-hand path mantra is generated by the 

conditions of secrecy in which it is transmitted to the initiate. Like the 

intimate transference of erotic power conveyed through touch in the Varna 

Marga sexual rite, the whispered sharing of the mantra from guru to adept 

cloaks the word of power in its own air of conspiracy. According to Varna 


Marga tradition, the mantra entrusted to the student by one's preceptor 

cannot be effective if it is simply read from a book. The ritual act of being 

personally provided with the mantra within an intimate initiatory context is 

the factor that grants the mantra its dynamism as a consciousness-changing 

The Curse Of The Tantras 

Like all Tantric concepts, including Varna Marga, the Sanskrit word Tantra 
is a kind of mantra in itself, open to many interpretations. Tantra can be 

most clearly defined as meaning "tool for providing expansion" or 

alternately, "liberation through expansion". Tantra is often translated to 

mean "web", "weave", or "woven together" which allows for some idea of 

the interconnectedness of the Tantric methods, which can metaphorically be 

thought of as a gigantic spider web of interrelated strands. The weaving 

together of the sexual energies of male and female is also suggested. 

Attempts to definitively categorize the complex weave of the 

Tantric web into terms suitable for neat and tidy Western concepts of 

rationality usually miss the point; Tantra simply defies distinct perimeters. 

Many well-meaning scholars have attempted to assert that "This is Tantra.". 

Others, just as firmly, have insisted "No, that is Tantra." And yet the 

ultimate core of the subject in question remains evasive, something to be 

experienced passionately as a living entity from within, rather than coldly 

observed as an object from without. 

The Tantras themselves are a corpus of once forbidden teachings 

said to derive from the primordial secret conversations conducted between 

Shiva, the creator and destroyer of the universe, and his beloved consort, the 

manifold Goddess Shakti, - sometimes in the form of the beautiful Parvati, 

often as the nightmarish Kali - while engaged in their ceaseless divine 
coitus. Historically, some of the earliest surviving Tantras are Buddhist in 

nature, dating from approximately 600 AD. It is almost impossible to 

provide a reliable date for the majority of them, which appear to have been 

adapted from earlier works. Tantric lore maintains that these conversations, 

revealing the hidden techniques of magic, sexual sorcery and selftransformation, 

were supposedly overheard by powerful yogi siddhas, or 

magicians, who developed the system of Tantric initiation for human 

consumption. These written Tantras only reveal a small portion of the gupta 

vidya (secret doctrine), which can only be fully communicated privately 

from teacher to student. As all sacred books of the past are considered to 

have lost their value in the current age, the Tantras are considered to be the 

only useful source of spiritual instruction for the Kali Yuga by Tantric 

The illuminated siddhas taught some of these interdicted techniques 


to a few select pupils of proven talent and discretion. Legend has it that the 

Tantras were then passed down from initiate to initiate through incalculable 

periods of time, an oral tradition transmitted slowly from one magician's 

mouth to another's ear, which continues to be the truest form of initiation 

among Eastern and Western left-hand path initiates to the present day. The 

secrets of the Tantras were encoded in aesthetic form by initiated artists 

working as painters, musicians, sculptors and dancers. The creative urge of 

the artist, a drive that usually separates the creator from the mores and values 

of society, is a symbol of the unorthodox energy required by the Tantric 

magician. To create stirring art of any kind is to become a world-maker and a 

god, and creativity of this kind has always been linked to the Black Arts, in 

the West and in the East. 

Eventually the Tantras were transcribed by hand on fragile palm 

leaves, usually in "twilight language" or sandhya-bhasa, that only initiates 

could comprehend. The lessons in these Tantric texts do not form a coherent 

whole by any means; they are a dizzying intermixture of thousands of 

different approaches and methods of initiation, ranging from profound 

philosophical insights of the highest order to rather crude recipes for love 

spells and curses that are similar to Western folk witchcraft. Indeed, many of 

the Tantric practices, which include the drawing of magical symbols 

(yantras) and the previously described uttering of invocatory words of power 

(mantras) are similar to the ritual procedures of the traditional Western Black 

Arts, providing a link between the magicians of both cultures. 

The sheer volume and diversity of the Tantric teachings makes it 

impossible to speak of one authoritative Tantric way - instead, the Tantric 

tradition offers a multiplicity of often contradictory teachings united by 

certain overriding themes. The variegated and decentralized nature of 

Tantra's magical and mystical teachings has had the advantageous effect of 

discouraging orthodoxy in its practice, which is why even the most extreme 

and heretical forms of Tantra's left-hand path have survived without too 

much persecution. 

Some of the Tantras were slowly adopted into the established 

practice of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism, while the more subversive 

teachings were scorned as dangerous lessons only worthy of the practitioners 

of the left-hand path. Although many of the Tantric teachings are in written 

form, it must be emphasized that sinister Tantra is primarily a way of 

dynamic action manifest in an initiate's vital existence. It is not a passive 

form of knowledge accessible simply through scholarly study. The left-hand 

path is a physical discipline that must be personally taught by a male or 

female guru from a lineage of teachers competent to instruct the initiate. The 

aspiring student of the left-hand path often spends many years in the quest for 

the teacher most suited to personally initiate him into the lineage of adepts. 


Indeed, Tantra is adamant that initiation can never be learned from books, 

and that second hand knowledge can never lead to direct realization of the 

self. The Tantric left-hand path mistrust of book learning, or pustake likita, 

goes so far as to warn that the goddess Shakti, the informing divine power 

presiding over the practice, curses all who try to take a short-cut to initiation 

through the written medium. For all of the value placed on the Tantric texts, 

the left-hand path initiate rejects the great importance placed on reading and 

strictly intellectual pursuits favored by many Western magicians. The lefthand 

path is defined by its manifestation in worldly deeds, and as such is 

better understood as a way of life rather than a faith or an abstract belief 


This threat of divine malediction has not stopped any number of doit- 

yourself Tantra manuals from being published in the West. We cannot 

enthusiastically recommend any of these. While we provide a certain 

amount of historical perspective on the left-hand path of Tantra in these 

pages, we agree with the traditional approach stating that the actual work of 

self-transformation is best conducted under the face-to-face guidance of a 

qualified instructor. This may seem like the height of inconvenience to most 

Westerners, who have learned to expect all information to be delivered in 

handy bite-sized chunks, especially from such questionable sources as 

popular media and perhaps worst of all, surfing the so-called information 

highway for instant illumination. The folly of assuming that any tradition 

can truly be learned by merely reading about it, rather than experiencing it, 

seems obvious. 

The Universe As Divine Copulation 

Returning to the sexual basis of the left-hand path, Tantra revolves around 

the axis of the ecstatic union of the god and goddess Shiva/Shakti, exalted as 

the sacred copulation of the cosmic male principle in its purest form as 

Consciousness, and the cosmic female principle, that primordial Power or 

sheer Energy that both drives and devours the material universe. Shakti, the 

feminine essence, is always perceived as an active all-creating force in the 

universe. Shiva, the masculine essence that penetrates her, is portrayed in a 

state of immutable stillness. This sexual resolution of the opposite poles of 

invisible male consciousness and visible female power also reflects the 

radically holistic vision of Tantra. 

Unlike other esoteric schools, Tantrics view the world of inconstant 

material appearance (maya) as identical with the eternal core reality that lays 

beyond the perception of waking consciousness. Among Shakti's many dual 

functions, she hides the nature of reality from the bewitched perceiver in her 

spellbinding form of maya while simultaneously serving as the force that 

reveals reality to those illuminated through her. 


The epidemic syndrome that compels so many mystics and 

magicians to recoil from the physical world as if from a loathsome and 

impure contagion is alien to the left-hand path. Rather than condemning the 

illusory nature of maya as a destructive delusion that adepts should 

assiduously detach themselves from through ascetic purification, maya is 

delighted in as an enchanting manifestation of the female power. In fact, the 

dream-like but paradoxically real substance of the world is approached with 

the previously mentioned attitude of play, or lila, a disposition that 

encourages the prevalent practice of magic in Tantric circles. This 

understanding transcends the body = bad, consciousness = good duality, 

freeing the Tantric of the left-hand path to operate the carnal body as an 

agency of illumination. 

The stationary male/active female dichotomy of left-hand path 

sexual polarities is most dramatically illustrated in depictions of Shakti in 

her destructive guise of midnight-black Kali, squatting with necrophiliac lust 

to absorb the erection of the dead corpse-white Shiva, prostrate upon a 

funeral pyre. Tantrics say that Shiva without Shakti is a corpse; male 

consciousness, without female power, is inert. The Kamakalavilasa Tantra 

states that "Bodiless Shiva, being of the nature of pure consciousness, must 

have Shakti for his body." Her body, which transfixes Shiva during their 

blissful coupling, is really Shiva's consciousness made visible. 

Kamakalavilasa Tantra means "Tantra about erotic joy in the movements of 

love"; the fascinating delight of these magnetic cosmic forces as they come 

together. Ultimately, the left-hand path initiate seeks to become this bisexual 

twin godhead, activating a state of perpetual sexual ecstasy within his/her 

own consciousness. In Western Hermeticism, the idea of the inner 

androgyne is a direct correspondent. 

In left-hand path metaphysics, the real and secret power of any 

male initiate is his shakti as incarnated in his female consort and as a living 

force within him. This essential left-hand path concept is not limited to 

India; it can be observed clearly in those legends in which a powerful male 

magician draws his hidden force from a female companion, or dark muse, 

possessed of extreme erotic sex-magical energy. In the modern Western sexmagical 

tradition, perhaps the figure of the Scarlet Woman, a human avatara 

of the Whore of Babylon, or Ishtar, is the best-known approximation of this 


Christianized Western spirituality has been content to assign womankind a 

limited repertoire of a few supposedly antithetical roles: madonna/virgin, 

worshipped from afar as a untouchable vision of purity, and 

whore/seductress, condemned as the source of all sin and the cause of all of 

man's maladies. The left hand of Tantra, the way of woman, views the 
feminine principle of Shakti as a infinitely complex living principle; virgin 


and whore at the same time, hideous hag, ravishing beauty, alternately 

creative, annihilative, merciful, fickle, cruel, loving, and indifferent - an 

endless surge of transformative female energy, a matrix from which all 

matter is emanated as well as the mysterious night into which all matter is 



In many ancient cultures, even those commonly described as 

"patriarchal" the male king's magical power to rule is traditionally bestowed 

by a supernatural female being, a universal manifestation of shakti. The 

Celtic tale of the mysterious Lady of the Lake who provides King Arthur 

with Excalibur, the sword of sovereignty, is one familiar example of the 

magical female power behind the throne. Other Celtic myths are less 

ambiguous about the sexual nature of the power exchange - many a 

legendary Irish king is compelled to have sex with a local feminine 

elemental or goddess who grants the royal right to rule the land only through 

erotic transmission. Like any contact with suprahuman entities, these sexual 

coronation rites were often presented as a possibly dangerous ordeal which 

only the destined king could survive. This shakti archetype is also embodied 

in a less supernatural form in Arthur's mortal queen Guiniviere, whose 

sexual abandonment of the king in favor of the knight Lancelot heralds the 

spiritual and physical downfall of his kingdom, Camelot. Arthur's magical 

advisor, the immortal wizard Merlin, also has his own shakti in the guise of 

his half-sister, the demi-human sorceress Morgan La Faye. The elusive 

object for which Arthur's knights so ardently seek - the Grail - is yet 

another icon of the shakti- yoni, symbolized as a bottomless cup from which 

flows hidden wisdom. 

An understanding of a masculinity thats strength is expressed 

through stillness and contemplation and a violently active femininity clashes 

so dramatically with Western stereotypes of the aggressive male and the 
submissive female that this has often proven to be one of the most difficult 

left-hand path tenets for Westerners to grasp. The male principle as 
understood in the sinister current - and actualized during the sexual rite - 

draws its power from the containment of inner force, embodied in the 

demonstrable control of both the biological and psychic mechanisms. The 

common left-hand path practice of restraining the ejaculation during orgasm 

is perhaps the clearest example of masculine stillness and self-containment. 

Masculine control over the self is an expression of order in the universe. 

This order is a static, immovable energy complemented by the female's 

dynamic, sinuous display of ceaseless movement, a demonstration of 

Shakti's vital chaotic energy. 

In the later manifestation of Tantricism in the Buddhist Mahayana 

school, these polarities are reversed; the male is the active, while the female 

is quiescent. Our application of the left-hand path tends to favor the older 

Hindu model. Those familiar with Taoist Chinese metaphysics will see the 

resemblance of this dual Godhead to female, dark yin and male, light yang, 

polarities eternally different but magnetically drawn to each other. By 

whatever name, these are the energies that left-hand path sex magicians work 

This sinister current desire to bring the opposites of male and 

female together into magical fusion, thus creating a third god-like entity, is 
also touched upon within a non-Tantric context in the Symposium of Plato. 

In that work, Aristophanes relates the legend that women and men are 

actually separated halves of what were originally wholes in some primordial 

epoch. These hermaphroditic early humans rebelled against the rulership of 

the father god Zeus, and were punished for their hubris by being split into 

two genders. This bisection created the never entirely fulfilled longing of 

man and woman to return to the original condition through sexual congress 

with his or her lost other half. It has been speculated that many of Plato's 

symbolic tales, which were clearly intended to convey esoteric truths rather 

than actual history, were learned from the mystery cults of Ancient Greece. 

The sexual fusion of opposites symbolized in the erotic opposites of 

Shiva and Shakti is not only realized through sexual rites; as we shall see 

later, the techniques of kundalini seek to create this fusion within the 

individual adept's body. 

During two-person magical workings, sinister current sex 

magicians incarnate these divine hypostases of cosmic masculinity and 

cosmic femininity in a constant state of metamorphosis, taking on a 

multitude of forms. The couple's magic flows into the world from the erotic 

interplay of masculine and feminine currents, creating or destroying 

phenomena in the world just as Shiva/Shakti's never-ending coupling, 

sometimes known in Tantric lore as "the great rite" creates and destroys the 


Although many modern left-hand path sex magicians in the West 

are drawn to the Indian symbolism and pantheon of gods, the initiatory 

coitus of divine male and female essences is not at all restricted to the 

mythological symbolism of Shiva/Shakti. The sex-magical rite may be 

effectively manifested on the terrestrial plane using the symbolism of any 

cultural tradition. The Nordic Wotan and Freya, Set and his bride Astarte 

(Babalon), the succubus Lilith and Samael, and countless other divine 

couples representing aspects of the transhuman male and female essences in 

their myriad of forms are equally appropriate. Ultimately, left-hand path sex 

magicians are not obliged to incarnate the forms of any known divinities, the 

elevation of their own consciousnesses to divine states can be accomplished 

without recourse to any mythological prototypes. Left-hand path sexual 
magic is not devoted to the submissive worship of deities; the final objective 

is the transformation of the human magician into a divine force through 

erotic initiation. The selection of a particular god-form to incarnate as a step 

towards his or her own self-deification is the prerogative of the human adept 

undergoing initiation, not a matter of blind faith in the supernatural. 

Despite Tantra's integration of the male and female polarities into 

its worldview, the feminine pole is accorded by far the most importance. The 


extent of Tantric devotion to the goddess Shakti is illustrated by the fact that 

male Tantrikas are commonly referred to simply as shaktas. It is Shakti, the 

feminine manifestation of the dual Godhead, who is especially accentuated 

by adherents of the left-hand path as she who gives birth to, sustains, 

permeates, vivifies, and ultimately annihilates the cosmos. The leftward 

current is often referred to as "the better half, a saying reflected in the 

modern Western custom of referring to one's wife, the shakti power, as "my 

better half. This avowed superiority of the left over the right is not a matter 

of moral superiority; the sinister force of Woman is primarily deemed better 

in the left-hand path because it is perceived as stronger, and is in fact the 

only power dynamic enough to create initiation. 

A concise explanation of the willed overcoming of the rightward 

male properties of the body and universe by the feminine sinister force is 

provided in the Mahakala Tantra. Although the Sanskrit terminology may 

be daunting at first to those unfamiliar with it, the following passage clearly 

outlines the underlying process of all left-hand path operations, albeit in 

poetic terms not instantly accessible to the rational side of the brain: 

"Purusa [pure consciousness] is called right (Daksina, because he is the 

right side of the body) and Shakti is called left, (Varna because she is the left 

side of the body). So long as the right and left, the male and female, remain 

equally powerful, so long alone does the bondage of samsara [the world of 

appearances blocking core reality] endure. When by dint of intense sadhana 

[spiritual practice] the left shakti has been awakened, when the left has 

overpowered Purusa, the right shakti, and lost herself in gracious joy on his 

body, that is to say when both the right and the left are filled with her power 

then she who is bliss unalloyed grants highest liberation to Jiva [the 

individual consciousness, perhaps comparable to the Western 'soul']." 

Opposite Doing 

As we have seen, a celebration of inversion and opposition is keyed into the 

very phrase Varna Marga - the contrary path. Accordingly, the method of 

Viparit Karani - "backward doing" or doing the opposite - is a central tenet 

of the left-hand path tradition. This is not only expressed physically by 

willfully causing the energy flow of the body to be reversed, as we 

mentioned above - the sinister current magician is constantly working with 

the paradoxical union of opposites. 

In every way, the left-hand path initiate makes sacred that which is 

customarily considered to be unholy or profane. This sinister current 

inversion of normative values includes the sanctification of sexuality, lust 

and pleasure which are ordinarily castigated by established religious 
orthodoxy but which are used by the Varna Marga initiate as keys to self- 


divinity. However, the practice also extends to adopting ethical stances and 

behavior which often evoke stigma, alarm, and even loathing among the 

followers of conventional social and religious teachings. 

These inversions are not engaged in simply to shock the ignorant - 

that's all too easy to do, and would become rapidly tiresome, not to say 

reactionary. The practice of Viparit Karani ultimately seeks to recreate the 

initiate as an entity outside of known and accepted frontiers, a necessary step 

in the process of coming into being and remanif esting as an independent 


In the traditional Varna Marga, one of the most frequently observed 

physical forms of this deliberate embrace of inversion is the Viparit 

Maithuna, or opposite ritual intercourse. In this technique, the seated male 

adept is entirely immobile, while the female adept energetically rides his 

erection. In one sense, this erotic action inverts "normal" sexual activity, 

which usually finds the male forcefully thrusting into the passive female. 

Particularly in the overwhelmingly anti-female context of Indian society, 

this erotic rite tends to symbolize the supremacy of the feminine principle, 

Shakti, incarnated in the female initiate. However, above and beyond this 

symbolic inversion, there is a much more pragmatic and universal purpose 

behind this practice, typical of the multi-tiered character of the sinister 

current. The male initiate remains perfectly still the better to control his 

breathing and thought processes, so that an altered state of consciousness 

can be more easily achieved during the rite. The Viparit Maithuna is also a 

human recreation of the divine coitus of the voracious and active Shakti 
mounting the immobile, seemingly dead Shiva, who lays in bliss beneath his 

consort's ministrations. 

Perhaps one of the best-known aspects of left-hand Viparit Karani in 

the West is the practice of deliberately causing the semen to flow backwards 

through the body at the moment of orgasm when it usually jets forth. This is 

not simply a mundane athletic exercise, or a simple means of extending the 

duration of the sex act, as is sometimes wrongly assumed. Tantricism 

maintains that semen contains the spiritual substance bindu, the very essence 

of the male principle Shiva. The loss of bindu in ejaculation is said to weaken 

the initiate. Causing it to flow in the opposite direction upwards through 

passages in the subtle body to the so-called crown chakra is presumed to 

strengthen the center of consciousness, and even foster immortality. A belief 

in the spiritual power of semen is widespread throughout the East; one 
commonly reported bit of folk wisdom claims that yogis who abstain from 
sex altogether, and never ejaculate, would bleed semen rather than blood if 

their skin were cut. 

Something of this Eastern cult of semen-hoarding was echoed in the 

early Western sexology of the last century, which taught young men that 


ejaculation through wet dreams and masturbation was grievously harmful to 

the male, depleting his strength and weakening the constitution. 

Buddhist Tantra is particularly concerned with not emitting a drop of 

semen, which holds the essence of thig-le, Tibetan for bindu. Hindu Tantra 

often allows for its emission, regarding the ejaculation as a sacred sacrifice. 

In some teachings, if the male initiate ejaculates in his shakti's vagina, he is 

urged to reabsorb the bindu through his penis, redirecting it upwards through 

his body. Alternately, the male adept may orally ingest the intermingled male 

and female fluids, which is also thought to reintegrate the bindu back into the 

initiate (Chinese Taoist sexual rites also call for the ingestion of the mixed 

elixirs of yin and yang.) In both the Indian Varna Marga and Chinese Taoist 

sex magic, it is not the physical substance of the fluids that is thought to be 

beneficial. Rather, it is the indwelling subtle energies, which are theoretically 

reintegrated into the spiritual body. 

The essential principle here is more than the containment of the 

spiritual power of the seed. Of equal significance is the inversion of natural 

sexual processes - the willful backwards action of currents in the physical 

organism mirrors the adept's increasingly god-like ability to shape the world 

of matter through contrary action. 
While we do not believe that learning this technique is absolutely 
necessary for the practical accomplishment of left-hand path sex magic (in 
fact, ejaculation is very often a useful tool for sex magic) it should at least be 
understood philosophically as one of the many backward- flowing actions of 
the left-hand path's Viparit Karani. The reversal of the male ejaculation also 
creates a profound state of rapture in the initiate which can greatly contribute 

to the attainment of a deified psyche. 

As always, every action taken in left-handed erotic rites can be seen 

to possess many layers of meaning. For the practical magician, by far the 

most important is the effect that a given action will exercise upon in his or 

her consciousness, a factor that can easily be divorced from less relevant 

cultural overlays. This obsessive guarding of the precious seed seems to us to 

be the least useful aspect of traditional left-hand path practice. 

However, the application of opposite-doing to other aspects of the 

magician's life, inclusive of his or her erotic sphere, is extremely relevant to 

left-hand path initiation in any cultural background. We have already 

described one dramatic example of viparit karani, the Tantric juxtaposition 

of the body's sexual pleasure with thoughts of inevitable decay of that same 

body. The possibilities for opposite-doing are infinite, exemplified by the 

left-hand path adept's frequently described determination to "turn day into 

night". Perhaps the most commonly utilized method of initiatory inversion in 

a sexual context is the practice of transmuting the adept's initial repugnance 

for any given sexual act into a tool of ecstasy. In such cases, opposite-doing 

serves to deprogram one's own sexual conditioning while viscerally 


demonstrating the fragility of seemingly fixed aspects of maya. Once sexual 

boundaries are broken, expanding the established perimeter of the magician's 

being, others can follow, eventually reaching into the boundary between 

human and divine consciousness. 

Kundalini - The Many Faces Of The Fire Serpent 

On a sexual level, the male Tantric left-hand path initiate's most supreme act 

of opposite-doing is the awakening of the goddess Shakti within his own 

body, a psychosexual transmutation that allows him to actually become the 

goddess. One Tantric proverb states: "What need have I of an external 

woman? I have a woman within me." The walker of the Varna Marga seeks 

to become that sexually opposite being, creating a fully integrated 

androgyne, facilitating the universe-creating coitus of Shakti and Shiva 

within his or her own consciousness. One of the many forms of Shiva 

venerated by Tantric adepts is known as Ardhanarisvara; in this guise the 

deity is depicted as an androgyne; the left side of his body is female, the 


right side is male. (The mysterious Western hermaphroditic egregore called 

Baphomet symbolizes the same principle.) The left-hand path magician 

comes to know that the daemon inhabiting the physical organism is truly his 

or her other erotic half. Kundalini, manifest to human consciousness in the 

form of a serpentine tutelary female divinity, is often seen and heard as one's 

inner Feminine Daemonic come to life. 

Perhaps the most accessible way for Westerners to first approach the 

sinister current tradition of a spiritual being of the opposite sex located 

within one's body and psyche is through the concept of the anima and 

animus, popularized by the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. In his The 

Development Of Personality, Jung wrote: "Every man carries within him the 

eternal image of woman, not the image of this or that particular woman, but 

a definite feminine image. This image is fundamentally unconscious, an 
hereditary factor of primordial origin engraved in the living organic system 
of the man, an imprint, or 'archetype' of all the ancestral experiences of the 


This image, which Jung called the anima, is supposedly 

unconsciously projected by men on the women they know, just as women 

project their inner male animus upon males. Jungian theory posits that 

psychic wholeness cannot be established until this inner alter ego of the 

opposite sex - a being Jung described with his coined word "contrasexual" - 

was fully integrated, usually through dreams. In Varna Marga terms, the 

anima is both the hidden internal shakti that is the source of the male adept's 

magical power, as well as the physical externalization of shakti in his sexual 

initiatrix. The female anima as an uncanny animating force is not unlike the 

alchemist's Anima Mundi, thought to be the living soul of the world - a 

world-soul imagined as a female spirit, with obvious resemblance to the lefthand 

path's shakti power. 

As Richard Noll has established in his biography of Jung entitled 

The Aryan Christ, behind the image of the mundane psychologist stood a 

not-so hidden sex magus, whose private teaching included the endorsement 

of sex-magical polygamy. The psychologist was also a life-long student of 

the German author Goethe, whose left-hand path celebration of the 

Ewigweibliche (Eternal Feminine) in Faust was clearly an influence on the 

very Faustian Dr. Jung. There is no doubt that Jung, although he presented 

himself as a scientist, developed his philosophy of esoteric gender through a 

deep immersion in alchemy, Gnosticism and Germanic sex magic. His 

anima and animus recalls the ancient Northern tradition of sexually based 

seithr, an ecstatic shamanism with left-hand path overtones. These rites were 

presided over by the feminine energies of the goddess Freya, also known as 

Frigg. Freya/Frigg's connection to sexuality still endures to this day in the 

word "frigging", a common Anglo-Saxon euphemism for fucking. 


The seithr magician entered an altered state of consciousness to 

search out his or her double in the form of a supernatural mate known as the 

fyjgya, or "fetch." Jungians, drawing from the same Indo-European cultural 

matrix of seithr, would perhaps recognize the female daemonic double of the 

male sorcerer as a form of the anima, just as the female adept who 

experiences her double as a male being might be said to have encountered 

her animus. (The fylgjya also sometimes appeared to the magician as an 

animal guide, very much like the magical animal totems still sought in 

Siberian shamanism or Native American visionary rites. ) 

This awakening of the internal sexual opposite in the Varna Marga 

tradition is most powerfully effected through Kundalini, an inversion of 

natural processes in which a subtle power said to slumber at the base of the 

spine is awakened and caused to rise like a serpent up the spinal column. For 

the left-hand path adept, the serpent force is most commonly awakened in 

the body through sexual rites with a partner of the opposite sex. During the 

maithuna, or sexual rite, the physical transference of the kundalini energy 

from one partner to another can be experienced with all the force of an 

electrical shock. Indeed, a jolt of electricity is an appropriate metaphor for 

this tangible transmission of power, as those who have undergone the flow 

of the sinister kundalini current from one gender to another have often 


Like electricity, the full manifestation of the Kundalini energy is 

extremely difficult to control once aroused, a potentially dangerous 

operation which permits the practitioner to confront reality as it really is - it 

is the most dramatic of the physical mechanisms that allow the initiate a 

state of awakening. 

This potentially devastating experience is known to have caused 

permanent psychic disruption in many who have attempted it. Fittingly, a 

metaphoric comparison is made to the dangers involved in disturbing a 

sleeping cobra from its slumber: Kundalini, it is said, "awakens from her 

sleep as a serpent, struck by a stick, hisses and straightens itself. What 

normally descends is caused to ascend by the will of the initiate. Kundalini, 

which means "She Who is Hidden" is the literal presence of the dormant 

goddess within every human body. Through controlled breathing, or 

pranayama, combined with the ritualized sex act, the feminine-lunar and 

masculine-solar streams of energy are merged, resulting in an orgasmic flare 

of radiance that illuminates understanding, and activates dormant energy. 

Coiled at the seat of Shakti at the muladhara chakra, Kundalini rises 

from there, passes through the chakras (or wheels) that line the spinal 

column, to be united with Shiva at the Sahasara chakra, where the seat of 

Shiva is located. At the crown chakra, the kundalini energy opens the ajna 

chakra, or third eye, a subtle organ radiated from the area of the pineal gland 


in the physical body, allowing the initiate to see for the first time. The 

feminine kundalini force, like maya itself, is said to hypnotize humans and 

keep them in thrall to unreality when it lays asleep at the base of the spine, 

only serving as an awakening power when it rises. 

This spiritual coupling of Shakti and Shiva within the body through 

Kundalini-Yoga mirrors the sexual coupling of male and female left-hand 

path adepts. In the language of Western theurgy, Kundalini can be 

understood as an act of invocation, conjuring the goddess within the 

magician's own body. As with all yogic procedures, it is not uncommon for 

magical powers, or siddhi, to develop during this process, particularly siddhi 

related to the feminine principle, such as enhanced intuition and 

clairvoyance. On an archetypal level of consciousness, the symbol of the 

kundalini serpent is an enigmatic mixture of male and female imagery, a 

hermaphroditic creature that simultaneously brings to mind the common 

phallic associations of the erect snake secreting its life-producing venom, 

and the feminine nature of the concealed goddess it is said to incarnate. 

We can find telling echoes of the ancient Sanskrit word kundalini in 

other Indo-European languages. The old Anglo-Saxon "cunt", and the 

modern English "cunning" are only two of the most pertinent examples. 

Another is the name and character of Kundry, a sinister sorceress in the Grail 

saga of Parsifal. The wild Kundry, described as a "she-devil" and "hell-rose" 

is said to have learned her black art in "far Araby" - a hint at the tale's 

Persian origins. Her affinity with the malefic wizard Klingsor is clearly that 

of initiatrix; she is Klingsor's dark kundlini-shakti, his anima externalized. 

Through Kundry, Klingsor hopes to seduce the pure fool Parsifal and gain 

control of the Graal, enduring symbol of the Feminine Daemonic. The 

minnesinger Wolfram von Eschenbach embedded his tale with a wealth of 

esoteric references; many of them suggestive of the cult of the Feminine 

Daemonic hidden within the troubadour tradition. 

Kundalini, understood as a hidden feminine power, is nearly identical 

with the Germanic Goddess Holda, whose name can also be translated as 

"She Who is Hidden". This heathen goddess survived well into the Christian 

era, transmogrified into Vrowe Hulda of medieval Germany, a tangle-haired 
sexual demoness sharing many of the grislier attributes of the Indian Kali or 

the Mesopotamian Lilith. 

Kundalini's ascent to open the third eye at the crown chakra has been 

compared in a Western context to the dazzling emerald that falls from 

Lucifer's crown during his mythical War in Heaven. According to von 

Eschenbach's telling of the Parsifal legend, Lucifer's fallen emerald was 

eventually fashioned into the Graal sought by Western adepts. The Holy 

Grail, cup of never-ending plenty, wisdom and eternal youth quested for by 

European initiates for centuries, is clearly a desexualized emblem of Shakti's 


yoni. The Grail legend of Parsifal underscores a common mythical 

symbolism that links European and Indo-Iranian magical veneration of the 

vagina. The initiatic regaining of Lucifer's crown jewel in the form of the 

Graal - that enigmatic symbol of boundless feminine wisdom - can be 

understood as an analogue of the Kundalini experience. 

Contemporary New Age distortions of Kundalini have often 

degenerated into banal methods of simply increasing normal levels of energy 

or alertness; a harmless diversion for wearied housewives with time to kill. 

This is all well and good. But such simplified Westernized derivations, like 

so many latter-day versions of left-hand path techniques, miss the point. The 

awakening of Kundalini, whether through sexual rites or otherwise, is at its 

most profound level, a world-shattering initiatory experience. 

Kundalini-like ideas circulate throughout the world's esoteric 

traditions, indicating that Tantricism is but the local recognition of a 

universal phenomenon. Intimations of the kundalini phenomenon were 

recorded in Western hermetic literature long before knowledge of the Indian 

left-hand path had reached Europe. The Caduceus serpent is a well-known 

symbol of serpentine sexual power in hermeticism and alchemy. More 

specifically, Gichtel, a disciple of the German mystic Jakob Bohme, wrote in 

his 1696 occult treatise Theosophia Practica of an illuminating "serpentine 

fire" located at the base of the spine. Such specific European references to a 

snakelike consciousness-expanding anomaly located in the human body 

reveal that experience with kundalini extended far beyond the borders of 

India. Gichtel described this spinal fire as taking the form of a mighty 

dragon. The dragon as guardian of hidden feminine wisdom is a mythic 

symbol that can be traced beyond European folklore into the Mesopotamian 

legend of the goddess Tiamat, which later developed into the Biblical shedragon 

Leviathan, the Beast of Revelations. 

Tantric symbolism envisions Kundalini as a feminine serpent 

revealing secret, potentially dangerous knowledge. The same symbolism is 

also apparent in the heretical Gnostic interpretation of the myth of the snake 

in the garden of Eden. The serpent thought to be the Devil by orthodox 

Christians was understood by some Gnostics as the divine Sophia taking on 

the form of a serpent to bestow immortality and the ability "to be like gods" 

upon mankind. Part of the female serpent's teaching is that gnosis can be 

attained through non-procreative sexual ecstasy - the forbidden fruit of the 

perennial left-hand path. 

The vertebral bone above the pelvis where the kundalini fire 

serpent is thought to lay coiled is still known in English as the sacrum, 

which derives from the Latin os sacra, or sacred bone. Exoterically, 

the sacrum's proximity to the genital organs is generally thought to be 

the reason for its sacred status. However, a knowledge in pre-Roman 



culture of the sacrum as the seat of some power approximating that of 

kundalini cannot be ruled out. 
In ancient Egypt's cult of Set - a violently dissident outsider god 

notorious for his insatiable sexuality and his occasional transformation into 

feminine form - we find that the back, especially the spinal column, is 
thought to be under Set's control. The mystical Egyptologist Isha de Lubicz 
described "Sethian power" as an "active power of the fire whose channel is 

the vertebral column ... That is why the back is said to belong to Seth." 

Similarly, the uraeus serpent depicted uncoiling from the god-like Egyptian 

pharaoh's double crown is practically indistinguishable from much later 

Indian drawings of the awakened Kundalini fire serpent rising from the 

initiate's crown chakra. 

These Egyptian hints of an awareness of Kundalini on the African 

continent are supported by magical activities of the present-day !Kung, a 

tribe of the Kalahari Desert. (The ! in !Kung is pronounced as a click of the 

tongue.) The !Kung hunter-gatherers describe a mechanism of ecstatic trance 

experience achieved primarily though ritual dance that conforms strikingly 

with the Indian Tantric model of kundalini, although there has never been 

any known exchange between the two cultures. 

In ancient Greece, the orgiastic cult of the wine god Dionysus, which 

actually originated in Crete, is rich with Kundalini-like symbolism, providing 

us with evidence of a once vibrant tradition of the Feminine Daemonic in 

pre-Christian Europe. The deity of the mostly female Dionysian cult was a 

divine androgyne. Dionysus, born within nature as a boy, is transformed 

through a non-natural magical process into a female, finally becoming a god 

integrating both genders - a narrative that mirrors the phases of Kundalini. 

Born with the auspicious female signs of horns on his head (symbolising the 

shape of the womb and the feminine crescent moon but later demonized into 

the Devil's horns) and depicted with a crown of archetypically Kundalinic 

serpents, the child Dionysus was torn apart by the monstrous Titans, and 

boiled in a cauldron. 

The goddess Rhea, sometimes depicted as a Kundalinic dragon, 

reassembles him, and he is raised as a girl. This provides him with the 

serpentine shakti power of femininity, although he is sexually irresistible to 

his raving cult of maenads. The destruction of Dionysus and his recreation as 

a borderline androgynous entity is reminiscent of kundalini, in which the 

initiate tears himself apart psychically only to remanifest as a goddess, just as 

it resembles the initiatory ordeal of the shaman who magically "dies" to be 

reborn as a woman to gain feminine magical power. The followers of 

Dionysus were primarily women, transported into an atavastic state of being 

through sexual excess. In the genuinely patriarchal culture of classical 

Greece, such behavior on the part of women was generally regarded as an 

anti-social violation of woman's established role as obedient household 


Rhea, who supernaturally transforms Dionysus from male to female, 

is a form of the goddess Cybele of Asia Minor, the sinister-lunar goddess 

whose male followers ritually castrated themselves during altered states of 

consciousness in ecstatic initiatory rites. This drastic measure served the 

same purpose as kundalini, the awakening of female magical power in the 

male votary. The rite of self-castration was a mandatory phase of initiation 

into the priesthood of Cybele; once mutilated, Cybele's priests donned female 

clothing and adopted female hair length as outer symbols of their inner 


Such extreme procedures may shock modern sensibilities. But even 

the celibacy of the Catholic clergy is in effect a form of initiatory castration, 

allowing them to perform their magical rites of transubstantiation, just as the 

sexually ambiguous clothing worn by Catholic priests after their ordination 

echoes the age-old shamanic adoption of feminine magical power. Even 

though these Catholic recognitions of the Feminine Daemonic are based on 

severely sublimating the same sexual energies that the left-hand path 

deliberately intensifies, from an esoteric perspective, the magician can 

recognize a hidden awareness of operant shakti initiation. 

A complete analysis of the sometimes maddeningly inconsistent 

approaches to Kundalini that exist would take us far afield from our task of 

describing the basics of left-hand path sexual initiation. Furthermore, no 

book could possibly transmit a valid comprehension of kundalini, which must 

ultimately be experienced within the physical organism rather than read about 

through the strictly rational screen of the left brain. Like all suprarational 

events, those who claim to have undergone the uncoiling of the fire serpent 

have returned with conflicting reports of how it was done, and what exactly 

occurred to them. 

Some Tantrikas, at one extreme, teach that sexual ecstasy is the single 

most important trigger for the kundalini experience, while right-hand path 

adherents insist that only conditions of strictest celibacy will permit its 

arousal. Traditional teachers maintain that kundalini always draws its energy 

from semen, literally transmogrified into ojas, a fiery elixir absorbed from 

the genitals into the spinal column and into the brain, where it supposedly 

revivifies the entire body. Female initiates who have been transformed by 

kundalini disagree with this semen-oriented theory, for obvious physiological 

reasons. Others prefer a less literal school of thought altogether, describing 

the energies involved as being entirely non-physical manifestations of the 

subtle, or etheric, body. 

The chakras, the energy centers through which the kundalini force 

are said to rise, are grounds for other controversies. Many modern kundalini 

yogis consider the chakras as little more than subjective, symbolic reference 


points with no physical reality, while the more conservative practitioners 

insist that they are absolutely objective realities. Customarily, a system of 

seven chakras is widely accepted but other sects recognize as few as six, and 

as many as thirteen. 

Uncanny auditory phenomena are often heard by those who have 

undergone Kundalini, sometimes taking the form of ethereal music. The 

crashing of cymbals and bells, the piercing tones of a flute, an incessant 

droning sometimes compared to a hive of bees: these are only some of the 

sonic sensations accompanying the rising of the serpent. 

Although the awakening of Kundalini can lead to altered states of 

joyful consciousness, the signs of its physical manifestation can also be 

initially disturbing to the unprepared. Frequent symptoms of the Kundalini 

phenomenon include extremes of bodily heat and cold, and a peculiar 

"fluttering" in the abdomen and heart area, sometimes accompanied by a 

general tingling sensation in the limbs. Involuntary twitching, difficulties 

with breathing, and an illusory sensation of expansion, as if one is actually 

growing larger, have also been known to attend the phases of transformation. 

Headaches, and other physiological pains, are not at all uncommon. All of the 

senses can become almost painfully acute when Kundalini stirs. 

But the most commonly reported feature of the Kundalini experience 

is the physical sensation - sometimes painful, sometimes blissful - of a 

burning electricity channeling up the spine. This distinct vertebral stimulation 

has been described even by individuals with no prior awareness of the Tantric 

"fire serpent" symbolism. Pandit Gopi Krishna, in his classic Kundalini: Path 

To Higher Consciousness, gave this account of his own spontaneous 

awakening of kundalini: 
"Suddenly, with a roar like that of a waterfall, I felt a stream of liquid light 
entering my brain through the spinal cord ... The illumination grew brighter 
and brighter, the roaring louder ... [I] felt myself slipping out of my body, 
entirely enveloped in a halo of light ... the point of consciousness that was 
myself growing wider, surrounded by waves of light ... the body, normally 
the immediate object of its perception, appeared to have receded into the 

distance until I became entirely unconscious of it. I was now all 

consciousness ..." 

The sensation of the feminine kundalini energy rising up the spine, or 

"piercing the chakras" if one prefers, is commonly accompanied by a 

purifying feeling of emotional blockages being set free - a sense of 

liberation. Just as with very intense genital orgasms, the "mental climax" of 

kundalini can cause the initiate to uncontrollably laugh or cry as superfluous 

aspects of self are jettisoned. Such an experience can appear to be 


indistinguishable from Western concepts of madness, and has led many 

unprepared solo practitioners to doubt their own sanity. This is only one of 

the reasons that we recommend that anyone seriously interested in pursuing 

this method of initiation should do so under the guidance of a teacher who 

has already gone through the ordeal. 

Another commonly reported side-effect of kundalini, the frequency 

of which accounts for its reputation as a psychically dangerous practice, is 

the sometimes extreme conditions of spiritual dislocation it can give rise to. 

Gopi Krishna describes these disturbing altered states of consciousness, 

particularly evident among those upon whom kundalini appears out of the 

blue without warning or preparation as "Black Kundalini". He left this record 

of his own excruciating experience of this unexpected numinous turmoil, an 

ordeal he remembered as a "prolonged nightmare", a drug-free displacement 

of consciousness some Westerners may have only encountered in their worst 

"bad trip": 

"A feeling of the horror of the supernatural ... a sudden distaste for work and 

conversation with the inevitable result that, being left with nothing to keep 

myself engaged, time hung heavily on me, adding to the already distraught 

condition of my mind. The nights were even more terrible. I could not bear to 

have a light in my room ... Whenever I closed my eyes I found myself 

looking into a weird circle of light, in which luminous currents swirled and 

eddied, moving rapidly from side to side. The spectacle was fascinating but 

awful, invested with a supernatural awe which sometimes chilled the very 

marrow in my bones." 

Traditionally, kundalini is said to radiate from the svadhisthana 

chakra, which Tantra describes as the sexual center of the human body, 

located right above the genitals. Whether this is a physiological fact or not, 

another commonly described effect of kundalini is its powerful impact on 

human sexuality. This may range from extreme sexual arousal, including 

spontaneous orgasm, to a dramatic diminishing of sexual desire. Swami 

Muktananda's account of his personal experience of Kundalini in his 1974 

book The Play Of Consciousness describes the erotic trauma he experienced 

during the arousal of the Kundalini: "All the love and intoxication I had felt 

in meditation left me ... Instead, in their place came a powerful sexual desire 

... I could think of nothing but sex! ... My whole body boiled with lust, and I 

cannot describe the agony of my sexual organ ..." 

Once this concupiscence subsided, Muktananda concluded that, 

"When the Svadhisthana chakra is pierced, sexual desire becomes very 

strong, but this happens so that the flow of sexual fluid may be turned 

upward and the sadhaka's lust destroyed forever." This interpretation, it 

should be clarified, is from a right-hand path perspective; the left-hand path 

initiate would not necessarily share the Swami's conviction that lust is a 

negative energy to be destroyed. Pandit Gopi Krishna, although far from the 

left-hand path, takes a less condemnatory view of Kundalini's impact on 

sexuality, asking rhetorically: "Is the creator... of such limited intelligence 

that he should build man in such a way that the sexual urge is the most awful 

impulse in him, attended by such an intense pleasure, and then rule that he is 

not to touch it?" On the contrary, he maintains that the "unbelievably 

rapturous sensation" of Kundalini's ascent "is nature's incentive to the effort 
directed at self -transcendence, as the orgasm is the incentive to the 

reproductive act." 

Despite these profound physiological transformations, materialist 

detractors of kundalini argue that it is, at best, nothing but a subjective 

psychic experience, with no tangible physical component. Dr. Lee Sannella, 

one of the very few Western physicians to make a serious study of the clinical 

nature of kundalini, concluded that the process is inextricably linked with the 

body's sexual functioning, observing that it did not manifest in humans who 

had not reached full sexual maturity. This theory accords with our own 

opinion that the initiatory effect of the left-hand path's erotic operations can 

only be activated in a body that has undergone complete sexual development. 

This concise outline of some of the principles of Kundalini primarily 

illustrates how the Tantric concept of sexual polarities is brought to bear not 

only in sexual interaction with others but as an internal process of selftransformation. 

Kundalini is the hieros gamos, or divine marriage, played 

out within the body's microcosm, just as other left-hand path actions 

consecrate the numinous wedding of Shiva and Shakti as a carnal union of 

sexual opposites between two physical bodies. 

Attempts to make sense of kundalini's contradictions through a 

traditionally scientific approach are ultimately fruitless, as such an analysis 

fails to accept the innate mysterium involved in this initiatory ordeal. The 

ancient language of rousing the sleeping serpent, or awakening the inner 

goddess, more precisely addresses the mythic, transhuman strata of 

consciousness where this initiation actually takes place. The creation of the 

spiritual androgyne that is kundalini's goal intentionally transcends logic, as 

do all of the deliberate opposite-doings of the left-hand path, magical actions 

designed to short-circuit conditioned cause-and-effect thinking and reprogram 

a new reality. 

One variant of Kundalini that has increasingly gained sway with Western sex 

magicians is the Chinese Taoist energy manipulation known as the microcosmic 

orbit. Rather than directing the body's dormant energy stream up the spine and to 

the head region, as in Indian Kundalini, the Chinese microcosmic orbit aims to 

create a full circuit throughout the body, ultimately bringing energy into the 

solar plexus area. As the authors have had less experience with this form, it 

will suffice to state that the microcosmic orbit appears to be an equally useful 



technique of sexual energy circulation, although it is not specifically a lefthand 

path practice. 

The Breaking Of Taboo 

Closely related to left-hand path Viparit Karani is the more general violation of 

taboo - derived from a Polynesian word, tapu, meaning prohibited or marked - 

within a sacred ritual setting, one of the central techniques informing all lefthand 

path initiation. Paradoxically, although the left-hand path is a tradition in 

its own right, it is a tradition based on the systematic breaking of tradition. By 

disrupting habitual, mechanical modes of thinking through transgression of 

the forbidden, the left-hand path sadhaka seeks liberation and illumination, 

allowing transformation of consciousness into a divine state. The sexual 

sorcerer will discover that the breaking of taboo allows access to blocked 

energies powerfully unleashed. 

The thing about taboos that must be said, of course, is that your 

taboos are not necessarily ours, and vice-versa. What is forbidden in one culture 

or time, or among persons from one class or level of education, would hardly 

raise an eyebrow in another. In fact, a dominant taboo in culture A might be 

considered entirely conventional or even mandatory in culture B. 

One need only think of the homosexual rites of passage for prepubescent 

boys that are still compulsory religious ceremonies in some Pacific 

islands. The same sexual activities accorded sacred status in that region are 

strictly criminalised in the West. In most Muslim countries, the drinking of 

alcohol is taboo, while hashish, outlawed in many Western nations, is readily 

available. Dietary taboos are some of the strongest. In several Asian lands, 

human consumption of dogs is considered a delicacy, although few Westerners 

would break this taboo. Lest the reader get too self-righteous about this one, it 

should be remembered that the Western habit of consuming cows is regarded 

as equally offensive by many Hindus, for whom the cow is a sacred animal. 

The once Papally ordained Catholic prohibition against eating meat on Fridays 

in symbolic honor of the dead meat of Christ's body probably wouldn't work up 

much useful energy these days but it typifies religious/social restrictions on 


Menstruating women are subject to taboo and tribal shunning in many parts of 

the world, and even in the "civilized" West, a fairly prevalent unspoken taboo 

discourages many men from having sex with a menstruating woman. Indeed, 

ritual consumption of menstrual blood plays its part among many left-handed 

Tantric sects. Vedic Hindus of the so-called pashu disposition are traditionally 

only allowed to have sex - even with their spouse(s) - once a month, from the 

fourth or fifth to the fifteenth day after the menses. Otherwise, they are 

expected to refrain from sex altogether. The vira of the left-hand path is 

permitted to break this taboo, having ritually broken with convention and 

seeking to reconstitute himself as a divine being operating outside the laws 

and restrictions of man. 
Death is fraught with a myriad of culturally variant taboos. In some 
religious traditions, displaying a photograph of the deceased for a proscribed 
time period after the death is the gravest of taboos. The presence of a corpse 
in an unembalmed state is a taboo in Occidental culture; the West prefers to 
confront the physical reality of death at the safe remove allowed by sanitized 

preparation at a mortuary. 

In this brief survey of taboo, we have yet to mention the so-called 

sexual "perversions" and "deviations" that are welcome pleasures for some 

but would cause unspeakable revulsion for others. Not only is there no such 

thing as normal sexuality, definitions of normality are almost always 

confined by a local cultural bias that blocks out facts uncomfortable to 

territorial reality. For instance, most Westerners would probably consider 

monogamy to be the normal state of sexual relations. In fact, anthropologist 

Melvin Konner tells us in The Tangled Wing that monogamy is the norm in 

only 16 percent of the approximately 849 human societies known to 

ethnography. Polygamy is much more common, being the customary mode in 

83 percent of societies. (Polyandry, the marriage of one woman to more than 

one man, is represented in only the remaining 1 percent of the 849 societies.) 

All over the world, among poor families living in one-room 
dwellings, it's entirely commonplace for couples to have sexual relations in 

the presence of their parents, siblings and children. Among the Western 

Euro-American middle-class, however, sex in such a communal environment 

would be considered an unthinkable taboo, as Freud's absurd theory that 

children accidentally viewing their parents fucking inevitably leads to a 

"primal trauma" makes evident. 

Particularly when it comes to the left-hand path violation of erotic 

taboo in the modern West, the vast diversity of "normal" sexual behavior 

accepted makes it impossible to specify any particular regimen of taboobreaking. 

You must be self-aware enough to know how far you must go in 

what areas to transcend your present state of being. Ultimately, as with the 

deliberate inversion of Viparit Karani, each individual magician must target 

his or her own taboo threshold to go beyond. As with all of the above 

examples of taboo, it is never the taboo itself that possesses magical power. 

Rather, it's the individual psychological significance such a transgression 

exerts in each individual magician's consciousness that is the source of 

potential energy. 

To fully comprehend the meaning of left-hand path taboo violation in 

India, something of the importance of the concept of pollution and purity in 

Hinduism must be discussed. Innumerable actions are deemed to pollute the 

orthodox Hindu, who is restricted by strict religious law from eating, 


marrying, or even socializing with members of other castes - just a few of the 

many deeds which are said to contaminate one's purity. The intricacy and 

arbitrariness of these laws beggars description, keeping every aspect of the 

orthodox Hindu's life regulated, especially for the high ranking Brahmins at 

the top of the hierarchy. 

The left-hand path initiate deliberately performs such polluting acts, 

inverting them as consecrated rituals, thus transcending divine laws. He or 

she who breaks the restrictions laid down by the gods is effectively 

transformed into a god-like being. Even in the social chaos of our own Kali 

Yugic time and culture, which lacks the strict concept of spiritual pollution 

known on the sub-continent, there are actions beyond the pale that 

possess the same kind of liberating power for the contemporary lefthand 

path initiate. 



Ecstatic Rites Of The Left-Hand Path 

Left-handed rituals derived their force from the deliberate reversal of the 

established morality. The explicit aim of the Five M's ritual is to raise the 

worshipper above praise, censure, shame, pride of family, and caste as a step 

toward liberation from the bonds which keep one from the supreme bliss; at 

the same time the ritual testifies that the prevailing morality forbade such 

things as wine, meat-eating, and sexual intercourse outside of wedlock. 

Geoffrey Parinder, World Religions 

The Five Secret Things 

The Indian left-hand path celebrates many sacred rites of taboo violation, the 

severity of which differ from sect to sect and region to region. The bestknown 

is probably the Panchamakara, or the five things" also known as 

Panchatattva the five tattvas. Once strictly guarded from non-initiates, the 

act of erotic theurgy sometimes called "the secret rite" has long since ceased 

to be secret. The Panchamakara is also commonly known as the rite of the 

"Five M's", as it involves the ritual consumption of five elements taboo to 

ordinary Hindus; the names of these elements all begin with the letter M . 

Although the secret rite may now seem rather tame to the modern 

Western reader, hardly deserving of its once secret status, it was 

extraordinarily transgressive for its practitioners, living as they did in a 

society surrounded on every side by the most scrupulously observed taboos. 

An in-depth analysis of the many layers of the meaning hidden in this 

notorious but often superficially explained ritual will allow the magician to 

access something of the complexity of the left-hand path's most well-known 

sacred act, and to view it from an initiated perspective. 

There is a veiled mantric symbolism to the sound of M and the 

number five involved with the names of these forbidden elements, the first 

four of which are matsya (fish) mamsha (meat) madya (wine) and mudra 

(parched cereal, alternately beans). The fifth element is maithuna (ritual 

coitus). These edible elements represent Water, Air, Earth, Fire, united by the 

omnipresent Ether, which is symbolized in the sexual act. Thus, the forces 


that compose the universe are taken into the celebrant's bodies, a practice 

Western magicians will see as comparable to the summoning of the four 

elements traditional to Hermetic ceremonies. Tantricists of various sects have 

accorded other esoteric symbology to the five elements, above and beyond 


their literal meaning and obvious taboo status. The eating of matsya, or fish, 

prohibited to vegetarian Hindus, has been thought to represent the feminine 

principle essential to the left-hand path. Alternately, the "fish" might be 

interpreted as the transformative currents that "swim" through the left ida and 

right pingala channels of the subtle body, and the element of prana, or air, 

that also swims through the ether and the physical body. 

The ritual ingestion of Mamsha, or strongly spiced meat, not only 

breaks the Hindu taboo against flesh-eating. It also symbolizes the initiate's 

recognition that left-hand path initiation occurs during his/her lifetime within 

the flesh, rather than in a life-after-death state. The word for meat, mamsha, 

is also decoded according to twilight language as meaning ma (tongue) and 

amsha (speech), representing the proper pronunciation of mantra so 

important to left-handed rites. 

Mudra (parched grain, or dried beans) has been interpreted as a 

coded reference to the withholding of bodily energy and essence manifested 

in some male Tantrika's retention, or reimbibation, of semen for metaphysical 

purposes. As a symbol of vegetable life, mudra can be thought of as the 

element earth. The female partner in left-hand sexual rites is often known as 

the mudra, a designation connected to the yogic ritual hand gestures also 

known as mudra, or "that which gives delight". 

Madya is more than wine; it is the liquid symbol of altered 

consciousness and the spiritual intoxication of the visionary, a divine 

drunkenness. As an elemental symbol, wine is related to fire. The drinking of 

wine in the Panchamakara ritual celebrates the application of joy to initiatory 

ends, breaking with the sober-minded orthodoxy of the established priestly 

class of Brahmins. John Woodroffe, the pioneering Western scholar of 

Tantra, mentions in his Shakti and Shakta that the Tantric texts state that the 

difference separating the left-hand and the right-hand paths can best be 

compared to the contrast between wine and milk. Significantly, wine and 

intoxication are considered to be of a feminine shakti nature in Hindu lore, 

and many Hindu goddesses are understood to be incarnated in the material 

world as the elemental spirits of intoxicating, maya substances. 

Drunkenness, universally prohibited by ascetic, pleasure-denying 

creeds around the world, can be found as a symbol for many other divine 

beings representative of the left-hand path values of disorder, creative chaos, 

and Eros. For instance, in the relatively puritanical ancient Egyptian society, 

the sexually insurgent storm and war god Set and his Priesthood were 

strongly associated with drunkenness; an especially powerful desert wine was 

known as the Gift of Set. Set's striking similarity with Shiva in his fearsome, 

atavistic guise as the previously described Rudra the Howler is not without 

relevance. In the later Middle East, Sufi heretics within Islam of a left-hand 

path bent continued this tradition, composing poetry comparing their visions 

to the tempestuous intoxication stirred by wine and beautiful women or boys. 


However, it must be remembered that this ritual drunkenness - like 

all of the sensory pleasures of the left-hand path - is entered into only when 

the adept has already trained his or her mind to transcend normal waking 

consciousness. In the milder left-hand path sects, only a token amount of 

alcohol is consumed during the rite, merely enough to break the taboo and 

symbolize the esoteric principle inherent in the wine. In others, especially the 

extreme Aghori school, copious quantities are quaffed from skull cups to 

deliberately test the initiate's ability to control consciousness under any 



The taboo status of these four substances in Hindu society confronts 

the practitioner with the transgression of the forbidden so important to the 

left-hand path - but there is also a practical reason recommending their 

consumption before the actual sex rite. These three foods and wine have long 

been thought to possess aphrodisiac qualities likely to enhance the erotic 

union of Shakti and Shiva in maithuna. For Hindus who have spent their 

lives on a strictly enforced vegetarian diet, abstaining from alcohol and an 

excess of sexuality, one can easily imagine that even this seemingly mild rite 

would be heady stuff. 

Much of the disrepute which Tantric ritual held in the eyes of the 

British rulers of India - and among the abstemious higher castes of Indians - 

was inspired by more than the scandalous Tantric celebration of sexual 
ecstasy. The traditional use of drugs in the practice was also worrisome to the 

guardians of public morality. 

In mentioning the Rite of the Five M's, many a modern apologist for 

left-handed Tantra has selectively ignored the frequent use of the hempbased 

drugs bhang or ganjam - potent preparations of marijuana and hashish 

- commonly used in the rite as an aphrodisiac. The master yogi, Shiva, who 

rules over all altered states of consciousness, is frequently portrayed brewing 

bhang and other hallucinatory potions. Although the use of bhang augments 

sensations of physical pleasure and intensifies the desire of the two 

celebrants for each other, it is also used to help the beginning initiate 

develop the ability of inner visualization. Eventually, the adept is expected 

to create these mental results without external stimulation but there is no 

condemnation of this practice by left-hand path Tantrikas on moral grounds. 

Unfortunately, the precise use of bhang and other stimulants as an initial 

opener of perception by traditional Varna Marga sects has sometimes been 

taken as a green light for self-destructive drugged excess by Westerners. The 

life of Aleister Crowley serves as an instructive example of the dire 

consequences of this phenomenon. 

On the Two Paths 

The Panchamakara provides us with a clear example of the exact 

differences between the left-hand path and right-hand path approaches to 

initiation. Whereas the left-hand path truly breaks the socioreligious 

prohibitions, the right-hand path practice of the rite of the five M's is in fact 

entirely symbolic. No taboos are actually broken at all by the Daksina 

Marga adept, who only safely acts them out using metaphoric substitutes for 

the forbidden elements. Thus, the right-hand path practitioner will eat the 

usual ordained Hindu vegetarian meal, substituting ginger for fish, milk for 

wine, and so forth. When the time comes for the sexual rite incarnating 

Shiva and Shakti's ecstatic union, the right-hand path rite replaces cock and 

cunt with the representative union of two flowers, one a lingam-shaped 


floral protuberance, the other a yoni-formed blossom. 

The right-hand path reliance on symbolism alone rather than actual 

sexual rites is more than reminiscent of the sublimated sexual elements of 

the Western magical tradition. It is quite common, for example, for Western 

magicians to replace a real sorceress's vagina with a chaste sip from a 
symbolic "chalice" or "grail", and use the magical sword as a surrogate for 
the penis. Occult historians have theorized that these symbolic instruments 
of Western magical ceremonial magic are but latter-day echoes of an earlier 
sexual tradition. When one compares the symbolic and cerebral form of the 
right-hand and the actual and fleshly left-hand performance of the Five Ms 

rite, it is hard to believe that we are not seeing a similar development. A 
further indication that Tantra began as Varna Marga, the way of woman, and 

that the right-hand path was a later desexualised, socially acceptable 

imitation of much older initiatory mysteries. 

The secret rite can be successfully performed in any type of 

surroundings or environment. No special ritual chamber or temple is 

required; indeed, the physical bodies of the celebrants themselves are 

literally considered to be the temples of the left-hand path. The human body 

is often spoke of in left-hand path tradition as "the temple of nine gates" - 

the nine gates being composed of the two eyes, the two ears, the two 

nostrils, the mouth, the anus, and the penis/vagina. Through the nine gates of 

the body do all the sensory impressions of material existence become real to 

us, and through those same nine gates do we create the personally 

materialized worlds we live in. 

The traditional left-hand path initiate in India frequently selects a 

location of suitably "sinister" aspect for the rite, favoring places possessed of 

some forbidding atmosphere. Abandoned temples and graveyards, cremation 

grounds burning with the eerie incandescence of funeral pyres, and any spot 

popularly imagined to be haunted, are all places traditionally associated with 

the carrying out of left-handed rites. Such sites are considered to be imbued 

with shakti's dark energy, and we can often recognize in these wild and 

inhospitable locations the Varna Marga's desire to bring the vital and lifeengendering 

nature of sexuality into conjunction with its polar opposite, the 

shadowed domain of death. This conscious welcoming of danger typical of 

Kali Yugic erotic initiation is yet another factor at play in such 

considerations. A more practical consideration for performing the left-hand 

path sex rite in haunted or desolate locations must also be considered. The 

ritual would be less likely to be interrupted by curious onlookers if held in a 

place likely to scare away the superstitious. 

By now, the reader will understand that shakti is taught to be most 

active by night, a property of the lunar rather than the masculine solar 

principle. Therefore, the hours between seven and midnight are most 

commonly chosen to celebrate the five secret things. 


Initiates of both paths celebrate the rite of the five M's while seated 

in a circle, which usually includes the intricate symbol known as the Shri- 

Yantra, a psychogram composed of interlocking triangles - the triangles 

pointing upwards represent the lingam and the consciousness of Shiva, the 

triangles pointing downward, in the universal symbol for the female genitals, 

depict the yoni and the power of Shakti. The initiate paints this yantra 

himself from red sandalwood paste or vermillion, extending his 

consciousness into this self-created form of sexual union during the 

deepening meditative process of its generation. At the center of one of the 

triangles is a dot, the bindu, which is the hidden source of all creation, the 

esoteric power of semen. The meditating shakta is thought to enter into the 

process of creation itself by creating this image, even as a ritual space 

outside of waking time is created in which the five secret things can be 

celebrated. As with almost all Tantric rites, whether they be of the right- or 

left-hand paths, the breath control discipline known as pranayama begins 

the process of mental mastery that underlies the Panchatattva. 

The male adept then assumes a yogic asana or posture known as the 

yoni mudra, or "the sealing of the vulva", which suggests the concept of 

sealing an electromagnetic power source that is an important physical aspect 

of the sacralized sexual contact. While in this position, the initiate repeatedly 

contracts the muscles of the perineum, located between the genitals and the 

anus, a procedure designed to awaken the muladhara chakra located there. 

This begins the ascent of the kundalini-shakti serpent energy in the body, 

and is accompanied by visualization of the coupling of Shakti and Shiva as a 

prelude to the recreation of their divine, world-creating copulation in human 


Right-hand path rites situate the female - almost always fully clothed 

- to the right of the adept. In the sinister school, the female initiatrix who 

serves as the erotic incarnation of Shakti, sits in the circle to the left of the 

male. As one Tantra mentions, "on his left he has the woman skilled in the 

arts of love, on his right the drinking cup." 

Even among the liberated ranks of left-handed Tantra, the female 

participant in the maithuna is not always entirely naked; only adepts who 

have reached the highest vira states of being are thought strong enough to 

handle the pure shakti energy emanated by an entirely naked woman. To the 

modern Western mind, inured by constant media exposure to the naked 

female form, such a condition must seem ridiculous. However, this 

stipulation is based on an esoteric understanding of nakedness as a symbol of 

the magical power of the Goddess unveiled. The female partner is elevated to 

divine status during the rite, and the male adept approaches her as the living 

incarnation of awe-inspiring shakti, not simply as a human being. For many 

modern practitioners, numbed to the erotic mysteries by a lifetime of 


indoctrination in secular rationalism, it is nearly impossible to make this leap 

of experiencing one's sexual partner as a divine being. But without this 

crucial transformation, the left-handed sex rite is bereft of its power and is 

really nothing more than an empty ceremony. 

The Five Senses 

Color symbolism is as important to the Panchatattva as it is in some Western 

magical practices. Scarlet, in particular, a shade long associated with the vital 

force of Eros, and the power of blood that animates living beings, is 

practically the official color of the Varna Marga. We have already seen that 

the shri-yantra symbol is painted in red. The scarlet hibiscus flower, or Java, 

is often found in the chamber in which the rite of the five M's is performed. 

The mudra, or female initiatrix, is sometimes adorned with the scarlet flower, 

or she may wear a scarlet robe. When the Panchatattva is deliberately 

performed with a menstruating partner, as it often is, scarlet may represent 

the mudra's menstrual blood, thought to be potent with her ovular energy, 

counterpart to the male semen. The "blood of the female in blossom" is 

regarded as especially rich with pure shakti power, physically radiating in the 

form of estrogenic substances possessing magical properties in their own 


All of the five senses are engaged in the sinister rite of the five 

things. The taboo foods and wine stimulate the sense of taste, and are 

consumed in a formal, ritualized manner; this is not the everyday meal some 

Westerners have imagined. Each of the foods are consecrated with 

declaration of specific mantras before being shared by the shakta and shakti, 

and subsequently washed down with small amounts of the wine. It is within 

the circle that the taboo food and wine, said to feed the subtle body of the 

hidden goddess Kundalini within the physical organisms of the male shakta 

and his shakti, is ingested. 

The optic sense is made more vivid by the use of appropriate visuals 

like the shri-yantra, and the striking color scarlet utilized throughout the rite. 

Modem Tantrikas also make subtle use of colored lights to softly illuminate 

the rite, which is often carried out in near darkness. One tradition of the lefthand 

path insists that the sexual rite should not be held in complete darkness, 

since this prevents the total stimulation of the senses considered necessary. 

The mantras being chanted and droned by the adept are directed to the sonic 

realm of creation. Finally, the senses of touch and scent are fully activated as 

prelude to the sexual union that consummates the Panchatattva. 

From Woman To Goddess 

The body of the human shakti, as part of the act of transforming herself into 

a divine being, is ritually washed and cleansed. These sacred ablutions, as 


with so many aspects of the rite, are also held to be carried out for practical 

purposes; the washing of the body is thought to allow for the 
electromagnetic energy of the sinister current to course between the sexually 

locked bodies more freely. For this reason, the male adept also bathes 
thoroughly before the secret rite. Of course, the aphrodisiacal aspect of the 


cleansing of the erogenous zones and genitals also comes into play. 

The shakti is then carefully massaged with minute amounts of 

essential oils, fragrances chosen for the magical significance and influences 

induced by their aromas. The use of these scents varies widely within the 

actual practice of Tantric cults, although even modern practitioners tend to 

avoid synthetic perfumes. The male frequently anoints his alter ego's hand 

with jasmine, her breasts and cheeks with patchouli, sandalwood on her 

thighs, saffron on the soles of her feet, and musk for the vaginal mound. 

Although the use of these scents on the female's body is directed on one level 

to the full arousal of the senses, each fragrance, as any modern maker of 
perfumes would know, are also highly stimulating aphrodisiacs. Specifically, 

these scents are aimed at awakening the dormant powers of the root, or 
muladhara, chakra, the lowest of the chakras, where the serpent fire sleeps 

coiled near the base of the spinal column. 

During the meditative process of the mudra's living deification, 

vermilion is daubed on her forehead, a clear dot is placed between her brows, 

and her feet and toes are colored scarlet. A small amount of sandalpaste, 

often found on statues of goddesses in India, is placed on her face. 

The shakti's yoni is worshipped, no longer merely as one particular 

human's vagina but as the impersonal mysterious source and matrix of all that 

exists, the f ountainhead of creation itself. In revering the yoni, the adept 

contemplates a portal leading to the core of the universe, the very heart of 

reality in the sanctum sanctorum of the Temple of the Nine Gates, from 

which all manifestations of maya must enter this plane of reality. Ritual 

adoration of the vulva, or yoni puja is completed with application of flowers 

and vermilion, traditional Indian modes of honor to divine forces. This act of 

literal veneration - a word that once exclusively described the ritual devotion 

to the goddess of erotic passion Venus - is designed to awaken in the mudra 

a sublime awareness of her incarnation as the Feminine Daemonic in human 

form, lifting her above common mortality for the duration of the rite. This 

aspect of the rite is probably an archaic remnant of sexual worship dating 

back to the earliest form of religion in the Indus Valley. 

Other parts of the mudra's body are also consecrated by the male 

partner, which are enshrined with divine presences through vocalization of 

the appropriate mantra. This phase of the rite, known as nyasa, is also 

directed to the glands that radiate the hidden endocrinal power known as 

ojas, and the chakra points, the seven vertical lotuses of the subtle body 

through which kundalini rises. The ojas is that subtle energy thats deliberate 

build-up and cultivation gives a person his or her ability to command 

personal authority, and is the bodily powerhouse from which an individual's 

magical ability derives. During this complicated operation, the consciousness 

of both the male and female practitioner alike is altered to a higher state of 
being. For him, his partner is the goddess, and she herself is convinced of her 


own transhuman shakti power, just as the male is transformed into Shiva 

during the timeless span of the rite. This self-deification of the human 

organism is an essential aspect of left-hand path initiation. 

Despite the Varna Marga's emphasis on the Goddess, the male 

principle is the focus of other erotic ceremonies. In some autoerotic rites, the 

male adept worships himself as a god, anointing his erect penis as the living 

godhead. The sacred courtesans, the devadasi, or temple dancers, performed 

an invocation of Shiva enacted through ritual fellatio of a consecrated male. 

Awakening through sexual ecstasy to god-like consciousness, the adept 
experiences the divine as manifested in the physical body, rather than bowing 

to the external deities of traditional religion. 

One Tantra makes clear that the male practitioner of the secret rite of 

the five things, in sexually exalting his mudra as the living incarnation of the 

dark goddess, should see in her no 

s a being than Bhairaivi, the awesome force of destruction that annihilates 

all obstacles, the cruel Mother Kali: "He who sees wine, fish, meat, woman 

should salute the Bhairavi Devi and say: 'Om! Salutation to the beloved of 

Shiva, the remover of all obstacles, Salutation to thee the giver of boons, 

adorned with a garland of severed heads, stained with streams of blood. Thee 

I salute for the destruction of all obstacles and the well being of Kaula Cava. " 

(The Kaula Cara, or Way of the Clan is, synonymous with the left-hand path 

as an initiatory school of knowledge in general.) 

Within The Temple 

Once fully aroused, the partners now lay down together, again with the 

female shakti situated to the left of the male. He breathes through the 

pingala, or right-flowing channel of the body's air passages, and slowly 

penetrates her yoni. Having previously performed the outer veneration of the 

yoni, the adept has now gained passage into that consecrated place, the seat 

of maya from which all comes into being. The act of one body physically 

entering another is a liminal act - the crossing of a threshold which 
consciously opens a sacred space in which the rite can be celebrated. The 

two temples of the nine gates are linked. 

The pace of intercourse in left-hand path rites is customarily long 

and drawn out, not the agitated rush to orgasm that so often epitomizes 

Western sex. This is not only true in left-handed Tantra but is an integral 

aspect of India's approach to sensuality, which has long made an art of erotic 

pleasure. As has already been stressed, the adept's aim is not the quick relief 

from sexual tension ordinarily sought by the pashu but the buildup of that 

tension to almost unbearable levels - and then the surpassing of normal 

sexuality altogether. Indeed, this concentration of desire into an applicable 

force of consciousness transformation is sometimes achieved by deliberately 


sleeping naked in the same bed as the shakti for many nights before 

proceeding to even the slightest touch. This creates a palpable bioelectrical 

charge of desire between the two consorts that greatly magnifies the 

effectiveness of the eventual consummation. 

Tantra classifies even visual contact with one's consort as a form of 

erotic expression. One traditional preparation for the secret rite includes 

gazing silently into the eyes of the contrasexual alter ego before advancing 

to a single caress. This unwavering glance is sustained for a much longer 

period than human animals are accustomed to maintaining, allowing for 

another break with the body's natural conditioning. Recent studies conducted 

in Germany have shown that merely looking at the photograph of a sexually 

desirable person of the opposite sex releases a attention-sharpening cocainelike 

agent in the part of the brain that recognizes "reward" stimuli. At least 

some of the remarkable psychic results caused by deliberate prolongation of 

the left-hand path sexual rite must be rooted in similar changes in brain 
chemistry. Technology will eventually determine the neurological reality of 
what transpires in the brains of a couple celebrating the union of Shiva and 
Shakti, knowledge which will make the methods of the left-hand path more 


Through a veritable science of subtle glances, caresses, and postures 

designed to maximize the erotic experience to the level of divine ecstasy 

enjoyed by Shiva and Shakti themselves, the couple transcend sex within 

time. The intonation of mantras, controlled breathing techniques, systematic 

stimulation of the senses, and the preparatory meditation has already created 

a profoundly awakened state of consciousness transforming their sexual 

pleasure into a celebration of their own divinity. 

To extend this atemporal period of mounting rapture, a number of 

pragmatic physical techniques are used by both partners that have only 

recently been rediscovered by Western sexologists. For instance, the female 

shakti is often trained to manually squeeze the base of her consort's penis to 

prevent his orgasm for as long as possible, allowing for a consciousnessaltering 

perpetuation of ecstasy. Current practitioners of the left-hand path 

utilize cock rings for the same purpose. 

The word "ecstasy" is currently used so casually to describe any kind 

of transitive pang of pleasure, that magicians who have yet to experience this 

state for themselves will only have a vague idea of the trance of joy lefthanded 

sexual rites aim to activate. However, when we refer to ecstasy, we 

are using the term in its authentic religious sense, not just as a synonym for 

any sensation that "feels good". As important as the hedonic impact on the 

body is to the left-hand path, it must not be forgotten that it is the effect on 

one's consciousness that is paramount. Once an adept becomes competent in 

the techniques of ritual sex, the time/space of the erotic exchange can unleash 


kundalini, including the deliberate attainment of visions, out-of-body 

experiences, or simply serve as a springboard for manipulation of maya - the 

work of the sorcerer. 

Ultimately, the wedding of sexual polar opposites realized through 

the maithuna is intended to awaken the initiate to the direct perception of 

reality. But every magician's personal experience of the rite must be 

grounded in his or her own individual universe of meaning. Transcending all 

imaginable verbal constructs, the ecstatic apotheosis reached through 

sacralised sex can never be standardized, ultimately resisting all attempts at 

description. Therefore, the beginning student of the left-hand path should not 

presume that he or she should be aiming for some sort of pre-packaged or 

pre-ordained outcome - dogmatic concepts of a "right" or -wrong" result are 

inconsistent with the radical individuation of the Varna Marga. Although the 

methods of the left-hand path sexual rite are age-old, each new experiment 

with them allows the couple celebrating the rite to experience the primal 

force of sexual creation as if for the first time. 

The Body Of Light 

The nature of erotic interactions possible during the maithuna varies 

widely, according to one's teacher, or the particular sect into which one is 

initiated. Tantric ritual coitus rarely leads to the frenetic thrusting of ordinary 

sex. Often, the erect male simply remains positioned within the shakti, 

allowing the opposite energies of male and female to flow into each other, 

whilst the kundalini is made to rise through mental control. This contact is 

prolonged for a long period of time, at first ranging from a half-hour to an 

hour. Experienced practitioners eventually sustain this hierogamic 

coincidence of opposites for hours, building up a powerful electromagnetic 

field from the contact between the male (+) and the female ( — ) fusion. 

Some second-hand texts on Tantric sexuality, often simply 

misguided, others driven by a puritanical agenda to gloss over the pleasure 

factor essential to the left-hand path, have described the actual Varna Marga 

sexual rites in such a muted manner as to thoroughly confuse the beginner. If 

one were to base one's understanding of Tantra on some of the writings on 

the subject, you would come away with the odd idea that the left-hand path 

initiate performs the sexual rites only obligingly and begrudgingly, in the 

same mental attitude as one might submit to dental surgery. And heaven 

forbid that the left-hand path initiate might actually derive any physical 

pleasure from fucking! 
Such hypocritical texts do a disservice to the ecstatic fundamentals of 
the left-hand path, attempting to dissolve the necessary physiological 

pleasures that actually drive Tantric initiation in a cloud of abstract 
spirituality. The importance of intense biological delight to the left-hand path 


is essential. In fact, it is a traditional left-hand path precept that the presence 

of sexual desire in the human body is thought to be a portent that the 

universe-creating divine energy has manifested within the initiate - the 

presence of an erection is thus honored as a physical sign of divinity in 

fleshly form. Although sinister Eros is very different from the exclusively 

orgasm-focused sexual interaction that characterizes sex ordinaire, that is not 

to say that it is absent of passionate desire for the sexual consort. If the 

weirdly asexual sex rites suggested in some modern texts were even 

physically possible, one must wonder how such requirements as erection and 

vaginal moisture are accomplished in the complete absence of lust and desire 


It is true that the erotic pleasure enjoyed by the Tantric consorts is 

partially understood as a manifestation of the greater ecstasy of divine 

consciousness on the physiological level of experience. However, the 

delights of the flesh are to be valued and enjoyed in their own right during 

the left-hand path ritual. 

The adept of the sinister current alchemically transforms the 

naturally occurring properties of sexual desire into precise tools of 

consciousness expansion. Since the first poem of erotic longing was first 

sung, human beings have observed how strong desire has the ability to 

sharpen attention, slow down one's sense of time, cause flashes of inspired 

thinking, and radically increase energy, among many other unique 

neurophysical phenomena. The left-hand path sex magician extends these 

useful qualities of desire from the fleshly sphere of existence and generative 

reproduction to the daemonic realm of being. 

One of the many reasons that sex makes for such an effective 

consciousness altering device and magical medium is an extremely practical 

physical phenomenon: the mind experiencing extreme sexual arousal for a 

prolonged period is able to focus into a one-pointed beam of clarity. This 

heightened state of attention, achieved even during non-initiatory coitus, was 

noticed by the pioneering sexologist Alfred Kinsey, who commented that the 

firing of a revolver would not intrude on a copulating couple's ecstatic 

exertions. This perfectly normal physiological event of erotic attention is 

known to any sexually active human being but is usually allowed to 

dissipate with orgasm. The left-hand path adept seizes upon this laser-like 

clarity of desire, prolongs it as long as possible, and consciously directs it to 

initiatory ends. 

The intense, one-pointed pleasure that makes so many the 

compulsive slave of Eros, is subjected to the initiate's discipline, and allows 

him or her to become the master of this most primordial and elemental of 

energies. Through controlled breathing and vocal intonation or mental 

concentration on focusing mantras during the sexual act, the run-away wild 


horse of desire is yoked to the magician's will, connecting the powerful 

engine of protracted erotic ecstasy to the adept's self-transformative 


The mantras droned to call down Shakti and Shiva into the subtle 

bodies of the celebrants continue to be uttered during the sexual maithuna. 

When the celebrants have achieved the highest level of intensity of their 

incarnation of the gods, actually separating from a human state of 

consciousness to experience their own divinity, the orgasm can be activated, 

a peak of energy that magically transcends personality and allows the adept 

to confront - and become - the integrated expression of pure consciousness 

(Shiva) and pure energy of power (Shakti). 
Theoretically, the repeated performance of the maithuna at ever 

more intense levels of willed desire is thought to continually strengthen the 

enduring, eternal element of the couple's spiritual bodies, ultimately creating 

imperishable psychic beings that cannot be destroyed by the inevitable 

deterioration that must befall all natural creatures. It must be clarified that 

this psychic immortality is not sought for the physical body that is the 

instrument of the operation. It is the subtle body within the physical shell 

that is conjectured to be ever more fortified by the primal, creative shakti 

energy activated through the sinister sexual rite. 

Sexual Vampirism 

As a digression, it is worth mentioning in passing the Chinese Taoist variant 

of the left-hand path rite, initially limited to the Chinese Emperor and his 

court. In Taoist sexual alchemy, attaining immortality is in fact the sole 

purpose of the sexual exchange. The Emperor would endeavor to perform sex 

without undergoing yang-diminishing ejaculation with as many of his harem 

as possible in one evening, willfully absorbing the young female's yin energy 

from their vaginas. Although the male was forbidden from ejaculating, the 

operation was only considered successful if the female was brought to many 

powerful orgasms in one session. The benefit of absorbing so much female 

sexual power without losing any of one's own male energy was believed to 

prolong physical life, unnaturally extend youthfulness, and create a reservoir 

of limitless energy for the male adept that would extend beyond the existence 

of the physical body to an after-death state. 

In contrast to the Indian and Tibetan forms of the left-hand path, in 

which the female sexual consort is at least theoretically revered as a living 

goddess, the Chinese yin-tao was entirely centered on the male adept's goal 

of immortality; the female was regarded simply as a sexual battery to be 

drained and discarded. In fact, she was generally thought to be useless for 

magical purposes after one such procedure - new additions to the harem for 

this purpose were constantly sought. One instructional text, the Yu fang che- 

yao, advises us that the common man destroys himself by repeated sexual 

congress with his one spouse, who supposedly depletes all of his yang 

energy. Here we have as clear a historical example of sexual vampirism as 

can be imagined; the conscious, one-sided depletion of one partner's youthful 

sexual energy to maintain the other partner's immortality. 

One need hardly be a sex magician or a Chinese Emperor to observe 

this phenomenon manifest in daily life. We have all encountered couples in 

which one partner grows ever stronger, while his or her partner visibly 
weakens psychically and physically. Of course, psychological factors play a 

part in such soul-draining exchanges. But once sex is experienced as the 

magical energy conduit that it is, the sex-vampiric root of such interactions 

becomes apparent. Such erotic predation need not take the form of a longlasting 

partnership; many a mundane one-night stand has allowed for the 

depletion of one partner's sexual energy for the benefit of the other. 

Aleister Crowley, whose compulsive practice of sexual vampirism 

reduced both of his wives to madness, and helped to destroy a good number 

of his "Scarlet Women", once wrote of one of his female pupils: "A superb 

natural vampire. But she doesn't know the principles. Her lover has Mortis 

Rigor - and the most elementary good sense (one would have thought) and 

even natural instinct would have told her to get a fresh victim when the last 

has reached the state to which she has reduced the poor boy." 

The Postures Of The Secret Rite 

Returning to the Indian Tantric maithuna, through persistent recurrence of 

the rite, the erotically interlocked male and female adept should be able to 

fully rouse the dormant kundalini in their bodies, enabling a fully awakened 

consciousness to emerge. Traditionally, sex with an adept of either gender 

who has already experienced kundalini is believed to quicken the kundalini 

of the other partner. The startling phenomenon of body-to-body transference 

of the unmistakable kundalini energy from one sexual consort to another has 

already been described. 

A common maithuna posture is the lata sadahna position, so called because 

the shakti embraces the entirely immobile man just as the lata, or creeper 

plant, wraps itself around a tree. In bhagasana, the couple's bodies remain 

outwardly immobile throughout the rite, whilst the well-trained female 

initiatrix works the muscles of her vulva on her consort's erect penis, 

fastening it ever more tightly in place within her. 

Savasana recreates the yogic posture seen in images of Kali 

mounting dead Shiva. Sava means "corpse", which has given rise to the 

Tantric pun that "Shiva without Shakti is Sava"; male consciousness lacking 

female power is a corpse. In savasana, the male lays prostrate beneath the 

female in a state of death-like trance and muscular relaxation, while she rides 

his erection, incarnating the dominant, active force of shakti. This corpse 

posture is linked to the age-old recognition that orgasm is often experienced 

as a kind of death, a verity communicated in the well-known French 
description of the ecstasy of sexual climax as le petite mort, "the dear little 



A multiplicity of sexual positions, or asanas, are taught to the 

celebrants of the sinister current. Almost all of them are focused on the 

female active/male inactive principle that has traditionally been thought to 

be the most efficient way to create the altered state of consciousness and 

flow of male-female energies into each other. Quite commonly, the sexual 

position taken during sinister current coition allows both partners to assume 

a seated face-to-face asana, with spines erect to more easily allow the flow 

of kundalini from sexual center to brain. 

The Mukha-Maithuna asana of mutual genital adoration (the "69" 

position), can also be a powerful bioenergy exchange of masculine and 

feminine essence. This creates a kind of sexual closed circuit, permitting the 

celebrant's energies to course through each other in a continuous and 

unbroken flow, an exchange of erotomagical power that can be compared to 

the uroboros, the alchemical serpent that swallows its own tail. The physical 

distillation of the united Shakti/Shiva forces are contained in the substance 

of the sexual elixirs. Theoretically, the orally operative adept consumes the 

contrasexual essence emanated through his or her partner's genitals, a rite of 

mutual sexual vampirism enacted through oral-genital feeding. 

It should go without saying that if you have no knowledge of your 

consort's sexual history or health, ingestion of sexual fluids during a 

working should not be considered. Any magician who ignores these 

precautions cannot truly be said to exercise the conscious approach to all 

physical manifestations that the sinister current adept seeks to maintain. The 

sleeping human surrenders to sexuality and its possible long-range 

consequences of pregnancy and disease as if in a dream, accepting whatever 

comes of it with passive inertia; the erotic initiate must be fully awake to all 

of the potential aftereffects of any sexual union. 

The erotic interaction of the immobile male sex partner, incarnating 

the Shiva force on earth, and the active female, embodying the terrestrial 

Shakti power, often seems off-putting, or at least unfamiliar, to Western men 

and women. In the West, copulation very often takes the form of the female 

prone on her back in the so-called missionary position, while the male 
thrusts into her, using her vagina as a kind of masturbatory tool. The very 

different physical arrangement called for by the left-hand path rite 

necessitates that the female initiatrix uses her yoni in a much more active 

manner than is common among Western women. 

The Yoni Of Shakti 

In Tantric tradition, women who are trained to take on the role of shakti, or 

sexual initiatrix, learn a method of vaginal control known as sahajoli. In 

India, this technique is secretly taught by already initiated older female 

adepts (sometimes the student's mother or grandmother) to girls at the age of 

puberty. Essentially, sahajoli involves the ability to exercise total control 


over the vaginal muscles during sexual intercourse, so that her partner's 

penis can be actively gripped and manipulated during the rite. Traditional 

training for sahajoli involves intensive exercise of the vaginal muscles for 

many years, often using dildos or other phallic substitutes to facilitate 

mastery of the technique. (This vaginal training is similar to the commonlytaught 

Kegel exercises known in the West.) The left-hand path sexual 

initiatrix utilizes the complex mechanism of her vagina with an agility and 

finesse that is all but unknown to the eroticism of the West, where even the 

most sophisticated basically consider the vulva as an inert hole to be filled. 

This kind of vaginal control was also an important part of the training 

for the sacred Temple courtesans of India, the devadasis (literally, the "slaves 

of the god"), just as it appears to have been part of the refined sexual artistry 

of the Ancient Greek Hetairae. Descriptions of the eldest known form of 

sacred prostitution, that of the Quadishtu, or Temple harlots of the Sumerian 

sacred whore-goddess Innana/Ishtar, also make mention of what must have 

been a similar method. The yoni, revered in the left-hand path as the matrix 

of all manifestation, is a fully activated, mobile participant in the rite of 

ecstasy, as befits the energy of the wildly kinetic Goddess it symbolizes. 

There is a surprisingly common Western male anxiety regarding the 

vaginal mysteries, perhaps most dramatically represented by the commonly 

reported phobia concerning the castrating vagina dentata, or vagina with 

teeth. Such neuroses are completely absent from left-hand path sexuality, 

which accords a reverence to both gender's genitals as living, creative 

incarnations of the divine. It is surprising how many Western men and 

women find the unfamiliar concept of an active vagina impossible to 

integrate, and this is one of the unspoken reasons that left-handed initiation 

has yet to be fully maximized in the Western world. No valid tradition of 

initiation into the physical feminine mysteries currently exists in the West. 

Consequently, the female student of the left-hand path sometimes finds it 

difficult to free herself of the culturally pervasive impression that her cunt is 

merely a passive orifice, rather than the energetic vortex of divine creative 

chaos posited in left-hand path veneration of the yoni. 

Meticulous stimulation of all of the female partner's erogenous zones 

during the maithuna is considered essential to raising the necessary degree of 

sexual energy for the rite. This process culminates in careful attention to the 

clitoris, a technique which had been developed to a fine art in the left-handed 

Tantra of medieval times, when knowledge of female sexuality in the West 

had all but atrophied due to Christian loathing of the body - and especially 

the female body. 

The Sacrifice 

The true secret of secrets guarded by the Varna Marga rite was not simply the 

liberating, obstacle-overcoming and initiatory effect of taboo violation, which 
can only be the first phase of any deep-seated process of self-programming. 
Once the taboos have been broken and made sacred, the initiates continue to 
repeat the rite for the initiatory value of erotic exchange itself, especially the 
physiological impact of the prolonged sexual rite on the initiated mind. The 

next step is the teaching that self-realization and coming into being as a 

divine consciousness aware of ultimate reality can occur during the intense 

flash of orgasm. For the left-hand path initiate, the orgasm itself is 

understood as an altered state of consciousness, and for this reason, the 

orgasm is prolonged, manipulated, internalized and integrated into the 

initiatory experience. 

But the orgasm aimed for in Tantric rites is quite different than the 

fleeting physiological event that usually takes place at the culmination of 

sexual congress. The orgasmic ecstasy crowning the left-hand path erotic 

rite is not the brief spasm releasing sexual strain common to everyday 

sexuality; it connects to a hidden reservoir of boundless shakti energy, 

providing a physical launching pad for psychic metamorphosis. At the peak 

moment of climax, "the doors of perception" spoken of by William Blake 

are blasted wide and pure apprehension of core reality can be attained. 

The sexual sorcerer can utilize this disruption in normative mental 

function to cast his or her will into the weave of maya, or ecstasy can be 

applied to internal change for initiatory purposes alone. Crucial to this 

process is that the adept undergoing orgasm must develop the ability to 

sustain full alertness and pointedness of thought even during the intensity of 

sexual climax, rather than slipping into the common black-out of 

consciousness that often accompanies orgasm. The traditional Tantric 

teachings are adamant on this point, urging the practitioner to resist the 

natural urge to fall into what is often described as a "swoon". 

Also resisted by some - but not all - left-hand path practitioners is 

the natural urge to ejaculate during orgasm. Some methods to avoid this 

include the slowing down of breath to near immobility, which also slows the 

ejaculatory response, the yogic curling of the tongue backwards against the 

palate, and the one-pointed focus on the repetition of mantras. The already 

mentioned yoni-mudra, in which the perineum muscles are powerfully 

contracted before orgasm ensues, is also effective. However, these 

mechanical efforts are far less important than the inner altered state of 

consciousness - the ecstatic trance - in which the entire act is carried out. 

The seed not spilled is theorized to produce more ojas in the body, 

which supposedly strengthens the immortal essence of the adept, 

theoretically creating an enduring spiritual body that can survive the 

physical body's death. Leaving aside such metaphysical physiology, which 

must always remain a subjective question of each initiate's personal belief 

system, the conscious curbing of the ejaculatory process definitely can 


create an extremely powerful altered state of consciousness, extending the 

orgasm to the entire organism. It is this latter consciousness-altering effect 

that seems of most value to us from the magical perspective. 

The average, uninitiated human being, or pashu, uses sex as a 

tranquilizer or relief from the stress of existence; for him or her, the orgasm 

is merely a tonic for nervous tension, very often resulting in total lapse of 

consciousness or sleep. The sinister current initiate, as always, does the 

opposite of this natural urge to relax during orgasm - instead he or she uses 

the intensification of pleasure as a means of full awakening. As stated above, 

the Hindu-heretical left-hand path does permit the male to ejaculate within 

his shakti, with the customary provision that the invisible bindu energy that 

is said to dwell within the visible semen be returned to his subtle body, 

either through cunnilingus or the trained reabsorbtion of the fluid through 

the erect penis. This process of reabsorbtion of the spiritual energy of the 

semen back into the body is known as vajroli mudra, named after the vajra, 

or "thunderbolt" that runs through the body like an electrical jolt during 

sexual ecstasy. 

Mastering this requires a great deal of preliminary yogic training, and 

is not easily accomplished by the beginning initiate. At the same time, the 

male shakta strives to draw in his consort's sexually enhanced shakti energy 

through his lingam into his body during the sexual union, a method known 

as sahaholi. If he does ejaculate, the adept is sometimes expected to practice 

amaroli, the drawing of the mixed essence of female and male energies back 

into his still erect penis, and theoretically reversing their flow, by causing 

them to course up the subtle channel of the spine into the crown chakra. 

There are numerous interpretations of the "correct" method of male orgasm 

but from our perspective, none are indisputable. 

The underlying - and perhaps essential - left-hand path principle 

concerning semen is the notion of ejaculation as magical sacrifice. The 

sinister adept's emission of semen is sacralised as a self-sacrifice of his own 

life-force into the altar of his shakti's vulva, an act known as dutiyaga. In 

traditional Hindu ceremony, the celebrant usually pours consecrated ghee 

butter or oil on the fire of the altar. The heretical left hand path replaces this 

approved sacrificial substance with semen, which most Hindus are so loath 

to emit. In the pre-Tantric Brihadaranakaya Upanishad, an understanding of 

ejaculation as a sacrificial release of energy into the matrix of shakti-power 

is made plain: "Her lower part is the sacrificial altar: her hairs the sacrificial 

grass, her skin the soma-press [here reference is made to soma, the 

illuminating sacred potion of the gods, often though to have been a now 

unknown psychedelic substance] The two lips of the yoni are the fire in the 


Seen through the symbolic prism of the left-hand path, the friction of 

lingam and yoni are compared to the friction of the sticks that create the fire. 


The mounting sexual pleasure 

of the couple expresses the 

rising flames of the fire. The 

yoni is the altar itself, into 

which the sacrifice of sacred 

oil, or male ejaculate, is poured. 

The divinity to whom the 

sacrifice is made is the female 

partner, the incarnation of the 

Great Goddess. The power of 

the sexual sacrifice is thought to 

be much stronger when she is 

menstruating, as this is believed 

to release more of the feminine 

energy sacred to the left-hand 

path. There can be no doubt that 

the tradition of sacrifice began 

with animal and human 

offerings to the gods. Left-hand 

path initiates consider the 

intensity of self-generated 

sexual energy freed at the 

moment of orgasm to be far 

superior to the force freed 

externally through the death of 

animals. Animal sacrifice is 
subsequently shunned by most 
Western left-hand path adepts. 
The Elixir 
Among the many paired 
opposites of sinister Tantra, the 
symbolism of white and red are 

as important as the earlier 

mentioned right and left, solar 

and lunar, Shakti and Shiva. 

White is the color of semen 

within which the masculine 

essence is conserved. Red is the 

fiery color of feminine shakti 

power. When mingled through 


the sexual rite, a conjunction of opposites is realized. On a less abstract level, 

the color red literally represents the feminine energy of the shakti's menstrual 

blood. The ritualized coming together of these red and white fluids during 

sinister sex recalls the importance of red and white to Western alchemy. 

Left-hand path Tantrikas place great emphasis on the vaginal 

secretions of the female, ingesting them as the pure distillation of feminine 

energy in rites venerating the shakti's vulva. This fluid, called amrita, or "elixir 

of immortality" is sometimes believed to be vitalized with magical properties 

transformative of human consciousness, an agent quickening the process of 

Kundalini, the awakening of the Feminine Daemonic in the male. The female 

amrita consumed in left-hand path sexual rites is considered most powerful in 

shakti at the time of menstruation, a fact which has sometimes been compared 

to the elusive "ruby elixir" referred to in Western alchemical texts as a 

medicine for the soul. Erotic statuary in India's celebrated Khajuraho Temple 

depicts scenes of ritual cunnilingus that indicate a strong left-hand path 

influence. In the Chinese sex-magical tradition, the orgasmic flow of the 

female partner's Bartholin's gland fluid was also thought to be a substance rich 

with yin, the feminine life-force potable in a physical libation granting 


In both the Taoist and Tantric traditions, great emphasis is placed on 

the necessity of absorbing the sexual secretion only from consorts 

demonstrating obvious physical health and vitality. Illness is said to nullify or 

even poison the effects of the amrita upon the adept. 

Even within the sometimes austere constrictions of the Islamic world, 

home to an ancient magical heritage, decidedly left-hand path sex-magical 

traditions continue to be practiced by Muslim magicians. Often these involve 

the use of sexual secretions and menstrual blood as sorcerous agents, as in the 

societally disreputable but fairly common utilization of sihr sufli, which has 

sometimes been described as a form of Arabic black magic. Such rites require 

that the sorcerer performs a prolonged act of copulation with a female - as is so 

often the case in the Tantric Varna Marga, the sorcerer's consort must not be 

married to him. It is also considered preferable if the woman is menstruating, a 

condition every bit as much of a taboo within Islam as it is in Hindu culture. 

At the completion of the act, the mingled semen, feminine secretions, and 

blood are carefully permeated into an absorbent piece of fabric. The erotically 

charged fabric is then ritually burnt, whilst the sorcerer calls upon one of the 

djinn - the demons of Arabic sorcery - to act in his stead in the daemonic 

realm. This rite, which draws on the veiled, repressed power of the Feminine 

Daemonic surging beneath the outwardly male-oriented surface of Arab life, 

is of course considered a defilement by orthodox Islam. As with all left-hand 

path procedures, it is the taboo-breaking nature of the activity that endows 

this kind of sexual sorcery with its force. 


Again, in light of the great importance bestowed on male and 

female sexual fluids in some Tantric Varna Marga rites, we must state that 

the modern sinister current practitioner in the West should not feel at all 

compelled to faithfully accept these traditional teachings as valid for 

yourself. Any such automatic adoption of ancient praxis, lacking personal 

investigation and integration, would be no better than the blind superstition 

found in any faith-based religion, or in the worst depths of occult quackery. 

The techniques of the left-hand path should never be taken on faith but 

tested in a spirit of practical experiment. 

If through further training and experiment, you find that semen 

retention/reabsorbtion or consumption of female sexual elixir are useful to 

your spiritual goals, feel free to apply them to your initiation. However, 

don't assume that these practices are essential to left-hand path magic simply 

because they are considered valid in the Eastern heritage of the sinister 

current. All too many left-hand path neophytes earnestly follow such Tantric 

prescriptions without critically considering why these actions are considered 

beneficial within the original cultural conditions from which the left-hand 

path emerged. 

From a practical magical point of view, the reversal of semen flow 

has two things recommending it. Any inversion of natural processes is 

psychologically useful to the magician attempting to alter the substance of 

the universe through will. Also, the willed hindrance of the male ejaculation 

can allow for a very different quality of intense orgasmic pleasure that can 

be directed to magical objectives. Most importantly, the longer the sexual 

act is prolonged, the higher the level of sexual energy available to the 

celebrants for magical use. Now, many traditional left-hand path gurus 

would be appalled at our lack of strict observation of ejaculatory protocol, 

since the reabsorbtion of semen into the subtle body is often considered the 

main point of the rite. We leave it to the discretion of our reader to decide 

how much of a purist he or she wishes to be in these matters. As for the 

drinking of female sexual fluids, any substance produced during a magical 

working might be perceived as carrying the distilled energy of that 

operation. In our view, this is a subjective psychological interpretation, not 

an objective fact, as some left-hand Tantricists would rigidly maintain. 

Varna Marga Without Dogma 

It should not be thought that we are advising Western sex magicians to 

faithfully recreate every last detail of the traditional five M's rite, as some 

modem Western Tantricists have done. On the contrary, the particular taboobreaking 

aspects of this rite, and much of its symbolism, can only have 

meaning within Hindu Indian culture. There would obviously be absolutely 

no taboo-breaking power released by Western magicians eating fish and 


meat, or drinking wine as an overture to their ritual sex acts, everyday 

practices in the Western world. You can only adapt the underlying principles 

described in this chapter, not necessarily the specifics, to your own 


The Western left-hand path magician can no longer rely on 

traditional taboo violation as taught in India, he or she must discover 

personal taboos to be shattered and then made sacred within a ritual context. 

In India, where "the sacred cow" is an ancient concept upheld by millions of 

Hindu vegetarians, and other animals are considered to be "polluting", the 

left-hand path adept eats certain kinds of meat as a dissident rupture with 

mass doctrine. Obviously, such an action is not meaningful in the 

omnivorous McDonald's culture most of our readers probably live in; other 

restrictions appropriate to your personal existence must be transcended. 

Traditional left-hand path practices, such as uttering the correct 

mantras, consuming the specified taboo/sacred foods, cultivating kundalini 

energy to rise through the chakras, envisioning the god-forms of Shiva and 

Shakti, can only be useful to you if you accept and integrate the complex 

symbol system from which these practices were developed. But these subcontinental 

methods are by no means mandatory to attain the erotic 

illumination of the sinister current. For some Westerners, the traditional 

tools of the Indian left-hand path are effective, and have provided them with 

a sound structure in which to initiate themselves. For others, these handed 

down traditions are simply too removed from their own conditioning and 

every day experience to be anything but a distraction. In that case, learning 

the ancient mantras, asanas, and mudras - save as a starting point for 

adapting your own system from them - would be counterproductive. 

Identifying the core principles beneath the regional practice of lefthand 

path erotic initiation, and remanifesting these essentials in terms that 

have deeply personal significance according to your own programming, is a 

far more useful task than mastering the "accepted" Tantric procedure. But 

only physical experiment with the body - rather than abstract study with the 

mind - can verify the premises of the left-hand path. 

The Beast, The Hero And The God 

Despite the initiatory significance bestowed upon the Panchamakara and 

other sexual rites, it would be a mistake to presume that traditional left-hand 

path teachers imagined that these methods would provide instant 

illumination for all. On the contrary, the left-hand path route to awakening 

was - and is - reserved only for a minority. A relatively small number of 

aspirants were considered suitable for left-hand path initiation; the righthand 

was considered by far the more appropriate route for the vast majority 

of initiates, as it still is today. 
The Kularnava Tantra demonstrates how little suited most humans 


are to the left-hand path by sarcastically stating that "if merely the drinking 

of wine was capable of causing one to attain fulfillment, all who are addicted 

to liquor would reach perfection. If partaking of flesh always led to the high 

state, all the carrion-eaters in the world would become eligible to great 

merit. If liberation was assured by sexual congress with a shakti, all 

creatures would be liberated by female companionship." 

An important aspect of the traditional Indian left-hand path is that it 

was reserved only for initiates demonstrating a certain disposition; it is 

considered useless or even dangerous for those lacking the spiritual 
proficiency and training to understand the rites on an initiatic level. This 

remains just as true in the contemporary West; erotic initiation is not 

appropriate for the majority of humans, most of whom are resistant to - if 

not incapable of - any kind of self -transformation, let alone that of the Varna 


A common Western misunderstanding of left-hand path rites is to 

assume that they provide a spiritual license for mindless hedonism. In fact, 

we are dealing with what can be accurately termed mindful hedonism, the 

conscious and willed application of hedone (Greek for pleasure) to initiatory 

purposes. Underscoring this point is the statement in the Kaularnava Tantra 

which forbids "the glutton, lecher, greedy, ignorant, hypocrite, voluptuary 

and drunkard" from sinister sexual initiation. In traditional Varna Marga 

discipline, the initiate is tested by his teacher for a full year before being 

allowed to be inducted into any sexual rites, a rigor which seems quite 

unreasonable to Western aspirants. Along with the meditative and yogic 

mastery of altered states of consciousness which the student must learn as a 

prelude to the secret rite, he is expected to have mastered his passions. By 

the time he is confronted with the woman who will incarnate the shakti in 

the sexual initiation, he is trained to view her in an entirely different manner 

than the average uninitiated pashu man would consider a sexually accessible 


It's important to clarify that most adepts of the left-hand path 

undertake this rigorous process of training while still earning a living in a job 

or profession within the prosaic world as householders, husbands, and wives. 

The left-hand path, for all of its metaphysical complexity, is not intended to 

lead its initiates away from all ordinary human pursuits. Instead, it's deeply 

rooted in a firm grasp of reality. Frequently, the adept leads what might be 

considered a perfectly "normal" existence by day, dedicating the s/ia/ctzpowered 

hours of night to the Varna Marga. Some radical adherents of the 

Varna Marga, who have reached the highest level of initiation, do break 

completely with society but these will always be a relative minority. 

Tantric initiation posits three classes of spiritual aptitude, which 

should not be confused with the initiatory grades or degrees so beloved of 

Western magicians - these three levels of the Varna Marga are perhaps better 


understood as spiritual types. For each of these dispositions, Tantricism 

maintains that there is a suitable mode of initiation. The first, and by far the 

most common type of human, are those said to be Pashubhava, those of the 

"herd-like disposition". The pashu, or herd-beast, is directed toward 

traditional worship of the gods, sacrifice, devotion and exclusively 

intellectual learning - the way of the mass mind, in submission to deity as an 

external phenomenon to be obeyed. For the pashu, sexual initiation and 
intoxication are regarded as poisons - the stark encounter with shakti's naked 

energy would destroy the pashu's circuits. The pashu, bound entirely to 

uncontrolled animal instinct, is said to be ruled by the inert universal quality 

known as tamas. With very few exceptions, all who approach a left-hand path 

teacher for instruction are deemed to be operating at a pashu level. That is to 

say that they react to the manifestations of the apparent universe with the 

same lack of control as an animal might, completely at the mercy of the 

natural world. The pashu reacts, rather than acts. 

After considerable training, the pas/iu-beast's inertia may eventually 

be transformed into the Virabhava, or "heroic disposition". The Vira can 

choose to follow the right- or left-hand path according to aptitude. Most will 

follow the way of the Daksina Marga, considered to be the safest method of 

Tantric initiation. A few will be considered heroic enough for the sinister 

current, whose extreme methods are thought to be much more perilous. The 

Vira who welcomes these dangers is poetically said to be "riding the tiger" in 

some of the Tantric texts. The Vira has created the active quality rajas in 


Only the Vira, or Hero, who has broken from the herd, is considered 

strong enough to transcend taboo violation, religious and social 

condemnation, and experience sexual ecstasy as spiritual awakening - a 

phenomenon compared to "walking on the edge of a sword". The vira of the 

left-hand path is considered to be a spiritual warrior, possessed of 

extraordinary courage and virility (the English word is derived from the 

Sanskrit Vira). The hero must have a "strong physique", according to 

Gautamiya Tantra. It is one of the many paradoxes of the Tantric world-view 

that even though the left-hand path vira ultimately aims to awaken the 

sinister feminine current within him, he must be considered virile - an 

expression of Shiva - before doing so. This seeming contradiction is based 

on the idea that before a man can bear the tremendous power of the feminine 

shakti, he must build up his strength far beyond that realized by the 
uninitiated male. This attests to the active character of the feminine principle 

as understood in the Tantras. 

The heroic warrior conquers six internal attributes referred to as "the 

enemies". Once these inner enemies are subdued and brought under the 

adept's willed control - among them fear, jealousy, anger, and longing - the 


ordinary prohibitions of pashu society no longer apply. The next stage of 

left-hand path initiation is open to him, including the rite of the five M's and 

other sexual initiations, including the orgiastic unions we will consider later. 

One of the tenets of the traditional Tantric teaching, which must 
seem quaint to modern Westerners, is that only the vira of the left-hand path 

is permitted to perform ritual sex with women to whom he is not legally 

married. Also, as we have mentioned in our description of the actual secret 

rite, the degree of nakedness revealed by the female initiatrix during the rite 

is contingent on the siddha's degree of initiation - only the most advanced 

practitioner is allowed to witness the complete nudity of his ritual 
companion, as the full force of unclad shakti power is esoterically believed 
to be too overpowering for the less spiritually evolved. On a perhaps more 
utilitarian level, one traditional Indian adept of the Varna Marga suggested 

to us that the real reason for this is that only the more yogically trained 
initiate will have learned the bodily control needed to restrain himself under 

such stimulating circumstances. 

The final state of being - the rarest of all - is the divyabhava, or 

divine disposition. The divya, or Divine, has transcended even the heroic 

mode, and has become a self-deified spiritual intelligence, liberated while 

still in the flesh, and free to operate as a god in human form. To come into 

being and remanifest as an immortal, independent divya is the true aim of 

the sinister current initiate. And yet, this divine being is not to be confused 

with sainthood; the traditional image of the benevolent sage is not the way 

of the left-hand path divya. Indeed, the most highly initiated left-hand path 

adept would probably seem far from a saint or holy man by most 

conventional standards. According to the Kaulavalinirnaya Tantra, the 

liberated initiate of the left-hand path may sometimes appear to the 

uninitiated as a "demon" or "madman". He or she may persist in playing in 

divine lila with the world of maya but has transcended all of the external 

forms of ritual. The quality of the divya is sattva, or purity. 

The superior being forged through the alchemy of the Varna Marga 

is not reduced to the bland and blissful "niceness" of the archetypal Buddha 

or enlightened consciousness of other teachings. The divya's sovereign 

freedom is just as likely to be expressed through a sometimes volatile, 

unpredictable, and untamed mode of conduct that can only startle those still 


Supta, the great sleep. One of the greatest hazards on the left-hand path is 

the tendency of its initiates to proclaim that they have reached this state far 

too early in their development; a guarantee of disaster for them, and not 

infrequently for those around them. 

The triad of beast/hero/god recognized by the Indian left-hand path 

is a common feature of Indo-European spirituality, namely the tripartite 


model of separating phenomena into three distinct modes of being. Even 

among these three grades there are further subtleties. The initiate of the lefthand 

path, for instance, is also known in Tantricism as svechchhacaya, 

alternately translated as "the one who walks his own way", or "the one who 

can do all that he wants." Such an initiate is free to act according to will, 

rather than as the subject of law. In the Tantric tradition, to do all that one 

wants is decidedly not a liberty granted to every human being. The 
svechchhacaya has progressed to a stage of development in which he acts 
according to will without the guidance of the guru considered so crucial to 

other initiates. Only certain candidates are considered to be of a strong 
enough disposition to handle the absolute freedom that these highest levels 

of sinister current initiation can allow. 

One of the specific qualities thought to be befitting left-hand path 

initiation is a philosophical outlook known as dvandvatita. This describes a 

person who is free of all of the simple and confining diametrical black and 

white opposites that rule ordinary human thought. He or she, who is 

dvandvatita, in a Nietzschean sense, has gone beyond Good and Evil and 

revaluated all values. Nietzsche's nineteenth century concept of the 

\Jbermensch, or Overman, is not new; it can be traced to the idea of 

dvandvatita, a forgotten key of the left-hand path. 

This notion that some persons are more innately qualified than others 

to exercise and enjoy total freedom and illumination instantly makes many 

modern Westerners uneasy, accustomed as they are to democratic concepts of 

egalitarianism. However, the traditional left-hand path understanding of 

initiation takes a radically different view of humanity than that currently 

promulgated. Tantric metaphysics considers that because men are clearly not 

equal, it is only logical that the method of initiation that liberates one 

individual cannot possibly be suited to another of an entirely different 

The Eastern left-hand path does not discriminate based on those 

criteria the mere mention of which makes so many moderns nervous, such as 

race, sex, and so forth. Indeed, as we have seen, the left-hand path routinely 

breaks Indian caste, racial, and social prejudices, elevating persons of low 

caste and social standing to a divine standing. This initiatory discrimination 

of the sinister current is based on far more subtle factors. Primarily, the 

essential spiritual nature of a given individual is focused on. However, the 

sinister current is based on a recognition of the possibility for radical 

transformation; the states oipashu, vira, and divya, are not considered static. 

The beast can theoretically become divine through application of will and 

self-imposed discipline, yoked to sexual initiation and awakening of the 

Feminine Daemonic of shakti power. 


The Sexual Initiatrix 

We have only covered some of the most basic criteria of initiatory gradation 

followed in the Indian left-hand path; the Tantras are immensely complicated 

and often contradictory in their suggestions. In the traditional Eastern system, 

it must be remembered, the pashu, vira, and divya are presumed to be of the 

male gender. Until relatively recent times, even the goddess-exalting lefthand 

path of India provided little in the way of instruction for the female 


Women, in the traditional left-hand path, are revered as the physical 

essence and incarnation of shakti. Women of the left-hand path in India have 

consequently aimed at training themselves to be a bhairavi, a fit vehicle for 

shakti and the guru of male students. It could be said that women in the lefthand 

path primarily serve a priestly function, as they are the physical medium 

through which the divine force manifests. Nevertheless, there are even more 

criteria applied to the woman chosen as the sexual initiatrix than for the male 

initiate who undergoes the initiation. Indeed, the traditional selection of the 

female sexual perceptor sometimes seems as complicated as the process of 

selecting a Tibetan Dalai Lama. 

Although left-hand path sex magicians are not obliged to obediently 

follow the traditional methods and criteria of selecting an appropriate partner 

for erotic initiation, many useful principles may be gleaned from the ancient 

teachings. Searching the corpus of traditional Tantric literature for practical 

guidance is no easy task, since much of it is veiled in deliberate obscurity. 

Furthermore, many of the most meaningful methods are not to be found in 

any written account, since the essentials were always communicated privately 

from one initiate to the other. 

One school of Tantric erotomagical teachings assumes that the 

vira's sexual consort will be a woman especially empowered to transmit the 

shakti energy, usually an initiated yogini ("she to whom one is yoked") 
descended from a recognized lineage. Such women are considered to exude 

a specific bioelectrical current during the sexual rite, and as mentioned 
earlier, even their sexual fluid or amrita was considered to be a magically 

potent elixir. The yogini is trained to guide the psychic and physical 

transformation of her male partners, while not giving way to the waves of 

sexual pleasure that ordinary women might succumb to during the rite. Such 

women are especially capable of reacting to sexual pleasure in a manner 

conducive to reaching advanced altered states of consciousness during 

coitus. The previously described mastery of vaginal control, or sahajoli, was 

considered to be a given in the left-hand path yogini. 

The body of the female initiatrix, transmitting shakti during 

sexual union, is itself the conveyer of initiation unto her male partner, 

which in turn, eventually allows the male to initiate others into the sinister 


current. Conversely, some shaktis are initiated via sex with an already 

initiated male. This idea of a physical transference of initiation and spiritual 

power is often a stumbling block to Western aspirants, who find it difficult 

to shake the culturally ingrained idea that spiritual wisdom is something 

communicated only through verbal constructs and rational discourse. Tanta 

accepts that the very sight of an image, such as the mandala, yantra or a 

specific form visualised in the mind, can create specific states of 

consciousness in the viewer that transcend analytic modes of thought. 

Furthermore, the Tantric tradition maintains that a genuine spiritual teacher 

can initiate his or her student through such subtle means as an unspoken 

thought, a mere glance, or a profound touch. If these transrational forms of 

contact are deemed to be sufficient modes of instruction, then the far more 

intense interplay of sex would obviously be an even more powerful 

technique of initiation. 

The female partner, although most commonly referred to as the 

shakti or mudra, is known by a variety of names in various left-hand path 

circles. In India, she is frequently the duti, the "messenger" between the 

male adept and the goddess power Shakti. The word duti speaks to the 

female's function as priestess, the physical intermediary between human 

and divine modes of being. The consort is also referred to as the lata, or the 

creeper, which describes the nature of her embrace of the male. Tibetan 

left-hand path rites are also centered on the person of the dakini, or "lady 

sky -walker". A dakini is simultaneously the red-skinned naked demigoddess 

depicted in Tibetan religious art as an object of meditation as well 

as the human female who embodies her in sinister rites. 

Within Tibetan tradition, secrecy plays a much greater role than in 

Indian Varna Marga, and some outwardly celibate lamas choose a female 

sexual partner who is known as the Songyum, literally the "secret mother". 

She is sworn to life-time secrecy, sometimes with threats of death by magic if 

she violates the pact. One Tibetan tradition designates the female sexual 
consort as "'the helper of the man on the way to enlightenment." Clearly, this 

auxiliary concept of "helper" places the female in the position of a mere 
assistant to the male's illumination, denying any initiatory value for her in the 

sexual exchange. 

This subservient role would seem to totally contradict the idea that 

the male adept actually considers his female partner to be the incarnation of 

the Goddess, serving to illustrate how wide a gap there can be between the 

theory of the left-hand path and its occasional corruption in practice. Anyone 

approaching the serious study of the left-hand path must always do so with 

eyes wide open to the human condition. Esoteric symbolism can often be a 

convenient justification for sexual abuse no more illuminated than what one 

might find in any modern workplace. The phenomenon of the spiritual 
"casting couch" is all too common among sex magicians in East and West, 

presenting a major obstacle to genuine erotic initiation in both cultures. 

The choice of female partner for the left-handed Panchamakara rite 

is sometimes a violation of taboo in itself. Widows were often sought as 

ritual sex partners because of their traditional defiling status in Indian 

society, a custom dating back to the time when they occupied so low a rung 

in the social ladder that they were expected to burn themselves on their 

husband's funeral pyre. Even now, the female sexual consort in left-hand 

path rites is often referred to as a "widow", even in cases where she isn't 

technically a widow at all. 

Some of the Indian Tantric teachings insist that the ideal mudra is to 

be found only among women in the age groups of sixteen, seventeen, and 

eighteen. Supposedly, their feminine shakti power is at its height of energy 

and dynamism at this phase of life. Another consideration is that a young 

woman's relative lack of involvement in the routine of daily existence allows 

them to more easily embody the Great Goddess, as she is unhampered by the 

day-to-day concerns distracting a more mature woman. 

A young, physically attractive shakti is often thought to make for 

the best consort, since she will be the most likely to awaken the powerful 

current of desire needed for the rite. But this is certainly not always the case. 

Much older women who have experienced decades as a shakti are equally 

valued. The traditional Indian respect for the wisdom of age explains this to 

a certain extent but it is also thought that the older shakti's more seasoned 

sagacity confers a deeper initiation upon their partners. Although the beauty 

of youth and the physical body are honored - even revered - in the left-hand 

path, at a certain level of initiation, ritual sex transcends all outer 

manifestations of ordinary physical attractiveness. Tantra cherishes the 

Feminine Daemonic in all of its guises and life-phases, from horrid Kali, the 

cruel bringer of death, to alluring Parvati, the sweet-smelling spirit of 

seduction. The shakti frequently fulfills her sacred function for her entire 

lifetime, often initiating several generations of adepts into the left-hand path. 

She also plays an important role in secretly teaching younger women the 

physical and mental skills required by the mudra. 

Many Indian Tantric sects are adamant that one should only perform 

erotic rites with a woman married to another man, and never with one of 

one's own wives. The underlying theory informing this concept, sometimes 

known as the parakiya, or "illicit love" was that the female partner should 

ideally be inaccessible as a romantic mate, and only available for initiatory 

sexual purposes. The different quality of passion released in an adulterous 

union was often compared to the ardor of a divine adulterous pair like 

Krishna and Radha and thought to be better suited to initiatory sex than 

married relations. It was assumed that the male adept would not know his 

shakti partner in a mundane sense, conditions making it easier for him to 



exalt her as the living embodiment of Shakti. There is some similarity 

between this concept and the medieval Western cult of the knight and his 

lady, a divinized female who was almost always the unattainable wife of 

another, admired from afar. On a sexually sublimated level, the chivalric 

Lady is the true inspirer and motivator of the knight's deeds of valor - 

another form of the shakti principle. 

The vast differences between the rigidity of Indian marriage 

customs and the relative fluidity of Western matrimony would tend to negate 

the purpose of this custom today. However, it can be magically useful to 

choose as one's sex-magical partner a person who is not your customary 

sexual partner or spouse. Whether he or she is the partner of another or not, 

this can focus your efforts on the initiatory meaning of your erotic 

interaction, divorced from the distractions of a familiar domestic or romantic 

arrangement. Naturally, this would apply to both male and female 


It must be stressed, in contradiction to some popularized recent 

distortions of Tantric sexual mysticism in the West, that left-hand path 

sexual rites have almost nothing to do with romantic love as is commonly 

understood. Also, the left-hand path sacralization of Eros was never intended 

to serve as a profane therapy method to improve ordinary sexual relations 
between couples - its utilization of the sexual energy is directed to aims that 

transcend the human personality altogether. 

Another frequently recommended practice by the Tantric Kaulas of 

Northern India, one of the most radically left-hand path Indian lineages, was 

to select a young woman of a lower caste as a magical consort. In the strict, 

caste-bound society of India, we can see how this infraction of a powerful 

social taboo might add strength to a left-hand path rite, providing the sexual 

initiation with a technically illicit, liberating character. However, in the 

disordered social environment of the modern West, where caste is largely 

based on economic class, and such boundaries are crossed routinely, it 

would be difficult to imagine a sexual liaison that would provide an 

equivalent violation of taboo. All that can be said is that deliberately 
performing sex magic with a partner of either gender who breaks your own 
established norms could be advantageous to creating the appropriate energy 

for a sinister current working. 

In both India and China, it is said that women who have given birth 

have lost too much of their feminine essence - respectively understood as 

shakti power or yin - to make for powerful erotic initiatrixes. This concept is 

connected to the Eastern magical cult of the virgin, in that it was said that 

virgins are the best erotic initiatory partners for men since they are 

supposedly oveflowing with untainted feminine essence. Sexual contact with 

the alleged magical properties of the virgin's abundant power is claimed to 


be a great boon, preserving the youth of the male adept who absorbs it 

during intercourse. From an exoteric perspective, we consider both of these 

ideas to be subjective cultural traditions akin to the Eastern insistence on 
retaining the sperm lest male essence be weakened, and of little meaning to 

the pragmatic Western sex magician. 

However, there is another esoteric layer of relevant meaning 

encoded in this traditional concept - the manifestation of Shakti most 

relevant to the left-hand path is always the wild, untamed feminine power in 

its pure state, outside of social boundaries. Therefore, the woman whose 
identity as wife and/or mother is of paramount importance to her would not 

be the ideal left-hand path sexual initiatrix. The maternal woman is a 

creature of nature, bound to natural law, and the respectable social status that 

motherhood bestows. Therefore, going beyond the biological level of 

childbearing, the woman who has not yet connected to the world of natura 

through childbirth can esoterically be understood as the more appropriate 

incarnation of the dark side of the feminine principle in left-hand path sexual 


The ancient concept of virgin, in contrast to the modern 

understanding of the word, did not necessarily imply sexual chastity - it 

described all unmarried and unattached women, including prostitutes. 

Several Tantric texts recommend that only a nayika is appropriate for lefthand 

path sex rites. In the tightly defined social structure of India, the nayika 

was a class of woman that Sir Richard Burton, that pioneering scholar of 

Indian erotic custom, described as —any woman fit to be enjoyed without 

sin." Virgins, women married more than once, and courtesans, were all 

referred to as nayika, and were thus commonly employed by the left-hand 

path shakta as a physical incarnation of shakti. 

Typifying the often contradictory nature of left-hand path Tantra, 

these very specific qualifications for a female sexual partner are often 

negated by another dominant Tantric doctrine: it is frequently said that every 

female is an incarnation of Shakti on earth, regardless of age, appearance, 

caste, or training. Therefore, in some Varna Marga sects, very old women 

representing Shakti in her crone aspect are chosen to be one's sexual 

initiatrix. Now, the Western reader might erroneously imagine that this 

practice indicates that the Eastern left-hand path has utterly transcended the 

discriminatory "ageism" of the West. But it should be understood that one of 

the reasons for selecting such a mudra is to force the male adept - normally 

accustomed to only experiencing desire for smooth, toned, youthful bodies - 

to sustain the same degree of sexual ecstasy with what he perceives as an 

elderly hag with wrinkled skin and sagging breasts. Part of the methodical 

system of general deprogramming and deconditioning of natural instincts 

and preferences that all left-hand path adepts must undergo, such 

experiences also deepen the initiate's understanding of the transitory nature 

of maya and its effect on the senses. 
The supposed purity of literal virgins' sexual energy is sometimes 

scorned in favor of the opposite erotic qualities of whores, who are 

considered to emanate their own unique feminine essence. Among adepts of 

the Kaula sect, the deliberate contradiction of opposites so frequently band 

in left-hand practice is epitomized by their designation of their partners in 

erotic ritual as Vesya Kumarika - virgin whores. 

In the ancient India from which Tantricism developed, whoredom 

was not regarded as &reputable or criminal. The religious courtesan was 

revered as a sacred being, an earthly vessel of the power of female sexuality 

at its divine level. The sacred courtesan, or devadasi (literally, the god's 

slave) was also understood as the wife of the god, and even secular 

prostitution was respected as an art requiring specialized training that went 

much further than erotic dexterity and versatility However, it was the temple 

prostitute, the devadasi, who was the preferred partner for Tantric rites. 
Trained from an early age in the art of sahajoli, the vaginal control needed 

for Varna Marga a operations, her experience in the temple would have 

provided her with a sacred understanding of erotic exchange inaccessible to 

the average woman. The legendary sage King Darikapa was said to have 

been brought to illumination by a wealthy South Indian courtesan, now 

revered as an emanation of the goddess Vajrayogini. 

Until the full-scale arrival of British troops in India unleashed a 

mass epidemic of venereal disease among these women, the devadasi were 

closely associated with the Tantric cult. Eventually, the ancient cult of the 

sacred courtesan in India was outlawed by the British as a moral 
abomination, after contact with the West reduced the religioerotic meaning 

of the practice into mundane commercial prostitution. By that time, the 

formerly respected sacred courtesans were referred to contemptuously by the 

British occupying forces that used them for hurried sexual relief as "nautchgirls." 

The courtesans used in some left-hand path rites were free to attain a 

level of erudition and education far superior to the Hindu wife, whose 

opportunities for cultivation of the intellect were severely limited. In this, 

the vesya was similar to the courtesan of Ancient Greece, another society 

that consigned women strictly to the household. The Vesya of India, like the 

Greek hetairae were renowned as much for their wit and intelligence as for 

their beauty and sexual expertise. The sacred courtesans of India, like their 

sisters in other ancient cultures, were permitted a sophisticated education in 

philosophy, literature, music, dance, and painting from a very early age. 

They were also well versed in all magical arts, which made them ideal 

partners for left-hand path rites. The fact that education for females was 


restricted almost exclusively to courtesans led to some confusion in the early 

days of Britain's colonization of India. When pious missionaries first set up 

Christian schools for Indian girls, the girls' parents assumed that their 

daughters were to be trained for prostitution. Horrified missionaries had to 

inform ready customers that their young charges were not for sale. 

One of the drawbacks of the traditional teachings that our female 

readers will have noticed is their integral assumption that the initiate they 

address must certainly be a male - women are almost exclusively accorded 

the role of initiatrix, never taking into account the possibility of a female 

initiate making use of the sexual energies of her male consort. Modern 

female magicians must ignore this bias as an unavoidable historical 

circumstance; much of the Western left-hand path's work lies in refashioning 

these traditional keys for use by contemporary female initiates. 

Disembodied Sexual Initatrixes 

The lustful imaginings of men's hearts do indeed produce artificial 

elementals and ... these elementals are something more than subjective 

images and have an objective etheric existence. 

— Dion Fortune, Psychic Self-Defense 

The left-hand path initiate is not confined in his choice of consort to the 

human realm. Many Tantric rites encourage the adept to magically summon 

a transhuman elemental feminine entity - known as the devi in Hindu 

Tantra, or the dakini in Buddhist Tantra - into the body of his human 

partner. In a certain sense, this process of erotic theurgy is central to all lefthand 

path sexual rites, since the couple's goal during sexual union is always 

to transform their temporal consciousness into the divine states of Shiva and 

Shakti. However, the invocation of the devi and dakini can have a more 
specific function, roughly analogous to the Western sorcerer's conjuring of a 

particular demon or elemental to perform a task thought to be especially 

under that demon's jurisdiction. If the customary Tantric practice of attaining 

Shiva/Shakti-like consciousness through sexual ecstasy is primarily of an 

initiatory character, the devi and the dakini are often called upon for less 

mystical purposes, primarily when the Tantrika desires to effect a material 

transformation in maya - the devi or dakini, temporarily present in the sex 

magician's partner, serves as his accomplice in sorcery. 

Through Prayoga, the adept dispenses with the material world altogether. 

He visualizes these female elementals with such realism that he can then 

endow then with autonomous animation. It is at this point that sexual 

congress is performed with the devi for a specific sorcerous purpose, often to 

absorb her knowledge of higher states of being or to "see" through her eyes. 



Left-hand path Tantrikas in India and in the Vajra tradition of Tibet 

have also developed their own magical procedures for summoning 

discarnate sexual entities that very much resemble the succubi and incubi of 

medieval European infamy. The Dakini, or "Those Who Fly Through The 

Heavens", who are said to sometimes appear to their human male consorts as 

achingly beautiful, exquisitely graceful demi-goddesses redolent of the 

sweet scent of lotus blossoms, are often described as providing sexual 

delight far in excess of the capabilities of human women. European and 

Kabbalistic demonology would also have it that once having known the 

paradisiacal embrace of the succubus/incubus, mere mortals are no longer 


As with all manifestations of shakti, the Dakini has her wrathful 

guise as well; red-skinned she-devils of fierce vampiric appearance are often 

materialized for sexual rites. Perhaps the most terrifying of these 
Vajrayoginis who serve as disembodied sexual iniatrixes of left-hand adepts 

is the sword-brandishing Chinnamasta, depicted as carrying her own 

decapitated head in her hand, while her neck spurts a fountain of blood. (The 

decapitated head symbolizes the left-hand path adept's ruthless elimination 

of the false self of social conditioning.) 

Especially in the Buddhist branch of the left-hand path, the monk or 

sorcerer creates these beings as an exercise in learning to project utterly 

realistic thought-forms or tulpas, to visible - and sexually tangible - 

appearance. True success in the projection of these creatures is only thought 

to be attained when others perceive the tulpa as vividly as the magician. The 

art of effectively sending such disembodied entities to others is related to 

this skill. 

As is so often the case, the Hindu and Buddhist branches of the lefthand 

path explain the conjuration of these sexual elementals from 

contradictory perspectives. For the Indian adept, the devi, once materialized, 

is believed to be an external being, existing outside of his mind. For the 
Tibetan, she is only a projection of maya, as unreal as all other apparitions in 

the phenomenal world - including himself. 

Rites Of The Radical Left-Hand Path 

Even among Varna Marga Tantric sects, already operating outside of the 

established order, a great disparity of approaches exist when it comes to just 

how far each cult will go in their transcendence of taboo and sexual norms to 

reach divine status. Three of the eldest sects use methods considered far 

more extreme than those found in later derivations of Tantra. This indicates 

that the original impetus of the left-hand path was the most radical, 

gradually losing some of its atavistic nature as it was institutionalized, a 

process which eventually resulted in the antiseptic right-hand path of Tantra. 


Northern India is home to two of the most radical left-hand path 

factions, the Kaula and the Kapalika, both Shaivite, or Shiva-oriented cults 

that seem to be among the earliest Varna Marga practitioners. The 

Kapalikas, or Skull-Bearers, were so called because they always carried with 

them begging bowls fashioned from the tops of human skulls, known as 

kapalas, part of their deliberately forbidding outer appearance. Founded in 

medieval Kashmir, the Skull-Bearers, like spiritual Hell's Angels, 

deliberately went out of their way to attract insult and disrepute upon 

themselves from respectable quarters of society. The Kapalikas and other 

left-hand path sects often drink the consecrated madya, or wine, from their 

skull cups; drunk on the mystery of death. 

The kapala is an especially important symbol in both Indian and 

Tibetan forms of left-handed Tantra, frequently depicted as one of the 

traditional accessories of the many dark goddesses revered by sinister 

initiates. In the case of Vajrayogini, the infinitely desirable scarlet-skinned 

Dakini that embodies the Vajra form of Tibetan Tantra, the goddess, 

wearing a necklace of human skulls, is often seen holding a skull-cap 

brimming with blood in her left hand. Tantric Dakinis are also shown 

making offerings of their own sexual elixir, or amrita, in these ubiquitous 

skull-cups. The symbolic complexities of the kapala transcend the 

immediately apparent association with death and mortality, also suggesting 

the importance of the brain that rests in the skull-cup to initiation. The 

research of Mircea Eliade, the great Rumanian scholar of shamanism, 

suggested that the sacred role of the skull cap in left-handed Tantra can be 

traced back to an archaic cult of goddess-worshipping head-hunters 

operating in Burma and Assam. 

The left-hand path siddha's utilization of maithuna, or sexual 

congress, was not limited to initiatory intercourse between only two 

magicians. Allowing for all-out orgiastic rites as well as for the more 

prevalent Tantric union of two Tantrikas incarnating Shiva and Shakti, some 

of the Kaulas and Kapalikas teach that spiritual liberation and illumination 

are also to be found in the unrestricted transport of the senses, particularly 

through the vehicle of pleasure with woman. A Kaula is a clan, or spiritual 

community which one may be born into or be initiated into, and these orgia, 

as unrestrained as they are, are held stringently within the context of an 

initiatory school. Some Tantric scholars believe that the intentional 

promiscuity of the Kaula orgies may have inspired the religiosexual scenes 

portrayed in the famous erotic sculptures seen in the Khajuraho Temple. 

The left-hand path orgy is quite different from the famous Holi 

festival of religious promiscuity (still celebrated today in a symbolic, nonsexual 

form) once held by the entire community to celebrate the coming of 

spring. During the Holi revels, semen - customarily so zealously preserved - 

was allowed to flow freely, and obscene songs were cheerfully sung to 


inspire high levels of lust. However, the Holi orgies were essentially rites 

intended to connect its participants with the natural forces of fertility and 

fructification. It was a festival of orthodox unleashing of Eros temporarily 

permitted by the religious community for the good of the collective society. 

This kind of group sexual activity - although outwardly similar to left-hand 

path practice - actually served a completely conventional and orthodox 

religious purpose, at an opposite extreme from the personal and initiatory 

non-natural character of left-hand path orgia. 

A text particularly associated with the Kaulas is the Kaulanava 

Tantra, which includes this maxim that could serve as the Kaula clan's 

motto: "O mistress of Kaula! In Kaula dharma (wisdom) enjoyment 

becomes complete yoga; bad deeds are made good deeds, and this world 

becomes the seat of liberation." As with all Varna Marga erotic rites, the 

initiates involved have already reached the vira or divya disposition, and 

have been comprehensively trained in the cultivation and manipulation of 

altered states of consciousness long before their participation in the orgy. 

This last point cannot be stressed often enough; no matter how intense the 

somatic bliss created though orgiastic activity, it is extremely unlikely to 

have any lasting initiatory consequence on a mind not already prepared for 

the rite by a demanding course of spiritual discipline. 

In the traditional left-hand path practice of India, we find many 

historical precedents for the orgy's usefulness to the more unrestricted sinister 

current of today. The rite of the five M's is also sometimes celebrated within 

the context of organized group sex carried out on a large scale. The group 
observance, sometimes known as Chakra Puja, or circle worship, sometimes 
consists of as many as a hundred couples engaged in simultaneous sex, often 
exchanging partners during the rite. Frequently, the Kaula performance of the 
chakra puja augments the consumption of the traditional forbidden elements 

with hemp, taken for its aphrodisiac properties as a sweetened meal, 

communally smoked, or in the form of a liquid concoction. As always, the 

entire ritual begins with breathing exercises intended to center the mind and 

activate kundalini in the bodies of the participants. 

Within the axis of the circle, a young virgin radiating shakti power at 

its maximum intensity is sexually venerated by the senior male or female 

initiate, the chakresvara, as the living Shakti, the presiding power of the 

orgy. Alternately, a highly initiated yogini, emanating shakti power, would 

have sex with each of the male celebrants, who would in turn communicate 

her power to their female consorts during the orgy. The word "orgy" in 

regards to the chakra puja can lead one amiss if one imagines total abandon 

and lack of control. On the contrary, the left-hand path orgy is very much a 

controlled, disciplined harnessing of group sexual energy, under the watchful 

eye of the chakresvara, who carefully orchestrates the sexual couplings 

around him or her for maximum effect. The orgy would often begin with a 

lesson from the presiding guru on some aspect of metaphysical thought, 
which would be followed by a period of questions and answer between the 

teacher and his or her students. 

While one aspect of this working drew its initiatory power from the 

breaking of orthodox Hindu sexual restrictions, there was - as always - a 

more practical magical purpose as well. The intense raising of sexual energy 

created by this orgiastic operation forms a dynamic current that can be tapped 

into for accomplishing sorcerous objectives. The intense sexual energy 

current of the Chakra Puja is maintained by perpetuating the orgy for many 

hours. The chakresvara would personally direct the raising of group sexmagical 

energy, much like the conductor of a sexual symphony. 

Despite the socially forbidden and taboo nature of such rites, belief in 

their magical power was widespread even among respectable Hindus 

uninitiated into the left-hand path. For instance, the chakra puja orgies were 

sometimes enacted as "command performances" for kings of embattled areas 

who hoped to defeat their military foes with the intense level of erotic force 

aroused by the circle. 

The application of carnal sorcery towards destructive goals may 

seem like a contradiction to those who subscribe to the common 

misunderstanding that sex magic must necessarily be of a "loving" nature. In 

fact, the interplay of opposite forces integral to the left-hand path makes 

sexual ecstasy an ideal weapon in the waging of magical warfare. This 

apparent incongruity is well symbolized in the simultaneously joyous wrathful 
and lustful-destructive nature of Kali's capricious play with the 


The circular form of the chakra puja orgy is probably the historic 

derivation of the commonly seen mandalas that show many divine couples 

in the copulating yab-yum (mother-father) position surrounding a principal 

divine figure in the center. These mandalas are typically interpreted as 
purely spiritual symbols by right-hand path Hindus, Buddhists and Western 
art historians but the real-life orgiastic origin of the symbolism seems clear 


A variant of the Chakra Puja is the Choli Marga, which takes its 

name from the choli, a brightly colored blouse worn by the female 

celebrants. This rite begins when each female Tantrika removes her choli 

and tosses it in a straw basket in a magically prepared circle. Each male 

Tantrika, with eyes closed, randomly selects a choli from the basket, thus 

selecting by chance his shakti consort for the night's ritual. 

If this random pairing of erotic ritual partners most frequently 

breaks the taboo of caste, it also sometimes disrupts the more deeply-seated 

taboo of incest. As the initiatory clan, or Kaula, may be composed of one's 


closest relatives, the Choli Marga also frequently led to sexual congress 

between mothers and sons, brothers and sisters, and all other imaginable 

combinations. The Tibetan wrathful goddess Lha-Mo, one of the 

personifications of Kali, is said to be impregnated with an incestuous child, a 

breaking of taboo that makes her all the more sacred to left-hand path 


Central to the overriding factor of chance which guides this orgiastic 

working is the complete breakdown of socially ordained order, a 

concentrated awakening of erotic ecstasy outside of accepted bonds. One of 

the restrictions of the choli marga orgy is that the celebrant is usually not 

permitted to perform the sexual rite with his or her legal spouse. As in the 

more common two-person rite we have already described, each female 

initiatrix sits to the left of each male shakta, an affirmation of the sinister 

nature of femininity. In one variant of the left hand path orgy, known as the 

spider-web rite, each orgiast is connected to all the others in the circle by a 

piece of cloth. Each strand of cloth creates a symbolic spider web through 

which sexual energy is transmitted, evoking the web-like nature of Tantra 


The orgiastic and incestuous erotic rites of the Kaula and Kapalika 

are tame in comparison to the thoroughgoing embrace of the outlawed and 

the outcast we observe among the Aghori sect. The Aghori reached their 

peak sometime in the sixteenth century but are still active as of this writing 

in contemporary Varanasi, albeit in increasingly dwindling numbers. 

The founder of the Aghori, Baba Kinaram, was revered in his 

lifetime as a living avatar of Shiva, and according to legend died at the ripe 

old age of 150 years during the latter half of the l-00s. Like all Tantrikas, the 

sexual union of Shiva and Shakti is of especial concern to the Aghori - 

Aghora is the name of one of the five faces of Shiva - but they specifically 

personify the male and female principles as the goddess Tara and her consort 

Mahakal, Shiva as Lord of the Dead and the cremation ground. The threeeyed, 

laughing Tara of the cremation grounds revered by the Aghori is a 

particularly grim image of divinity, her matted hair held in place by a 

writhing serpent, swathed in a tiger skin indicative of her ferocity. Tara is 

often depicted carrying a dagger and the familiar skull cap of the Kapalikas 

and Aghori. Although there is probably no etymological connection, Tara is 

thought by some modern Tantrikas to be simply the Indian manifestation of 

an archaic divine being present throughout the ancient world. This 

speculation is based on the goddess's name, which seems to echo that of 

Ishtar and Astarte - manifold forms of the goddess related to the opposing 

but connected poles of extreme sexual power and destructive force. 

This connection with Shiva/Shakti's ghastlier visage lends the Aghori 

a decidedly macabre character - they dwell in cremation grounds, which 


serve as their ritual sites and holy places, and when they are not naked, they 

wear the shrouds of corpses. Their hair is deliberately disheveled, like Tara's. 

They smear their bodies with the ashes of the cremated, an act of deliberate 

pollution which would be strictly taboo for the Brahmin caste. Like the skullbearing 

Kapalika from which they very probably descended, the Aghori beg 

for food with bowls made from the craniums of human skulls. These ghoulish 

begging bowls also serve as the Aghori's dinner plates - nourishment for life 

taken from death. 

The Aghori pursue the essential Tantric left-hand path teaching of the 

absolute identity of opposites. For them, the same things condemned as 

utterly impure by conventional standards are to be made sacred - taboo is 

viscerally transcended and revealed to be illusory, an initiatory lesson leading 

to the god-like separation and liberation from the norms restricting the pashu. 

The desired result of Aghoric left-hand practice is the attainment of a 

transhuman impartiality to the phenomena of Shakti's maya. The 

confrontation of inner demons, fears and terrors is an important aspect of 

Aghoric left-hand path initiation, which often lead the Aghori to pursue 

places of solitude from human society, such as cremation grounds, caves, and 

isolated jungles. 

The Aghori are probably most notorious for their own singular 

celebration of Panchamakara, a variant of the Five M's observance that far 

surpasses in transgression the secret rite we have already described. The 
matsya (fish), mamsha (meat), madya (wine), mudra (cereal), and maithuna 
(ritual coitus) central to other left-hand path rites of initiation are replaced by 
the Aghori with another list of prohibited "M" elements. The Aghora Tantrics 
make a sacrament of ritual necrophagia by cannibalistically devouring human 
rather than animal meat (mamsha), specifically the flesh of human corpses at 

the cremation grounds. Although the concept of sacred cannibalism is 
probably one of the most startling features of traditional left-hand practice, it 

should be remembered that even the Catholic rite of Mass, with its 
ceremonial consumption of the "flesh and blood" of Christ is only a symbolic 

recreation of the same general idea. 

Along with wine and other intoxicants, the Aghori adept drinks 

human blood (medha) and human urine (meha). Coprophagia or the 

consumption of human excrement (mala) rounds out a sacralised meal that is 

concluded with mehana, a word that can be taken to mean penis or semen. 

None of these ritual violations of taboo are motivated by the same 

instincts that might inspire the contemporary profane urine, shit or blood 

enthusiast to partake of his or her particular fetish. Above and beyond the 

considerable release of magical energy freed by these actions, the Aghoric 

goal is to overcome all sense of conditioned fear or disgust obstructing the 

initiate's awareness, reaching a state of complete neutrality towards all 


manifestations of shakti-maya. In many cases, the consumption of such 

traditionally impure substances as human urine, blood, feces, and flesh is 

usually confined to a one-time breakthrough in consciousness; to repeatedly 

break these taboos once a transcendent insight has been gained through their 

ritual enactment would be senseless from an initiatory perspective. Other 

Aghoris continue these practices for specific magical purposes unrelated to 

the initial transgression of taboo. 

One fairly common Buddhist practice in Tibet reveals an Aghori 

influence. The initiate is compelled to visualize the drinking of five fluids: 

excrement, brains, semen, blood, and urine, which are alchemically 

transformed through disciplined thought control into wisdom-providing 

"nectars" sacred to Tibetan Buddhism. As is often the case, the Tibetan 

Buddhist adept - who radically rejects the reality of all apparent planes of 

existence - mentally imagines those taboo actions which the Indian Aghoris 

actually perform in keeping with the concept that maya is paradoxically real 

and illusory at the same time. 

The Aghori's preferred initiatrix in sexual congress is a menstruating 

woman of the "untouchable" lower caste, whose menstrual blood mingled 

with his own semen is sometimes consumed at the conclusion of the rite. 

This Aghori practice has a secular analogue in a modern Western "sect" 

dedicated to taboo-transgression; a well-known rite of initiation for the Hell's 

Angels motorcycle club decrees that the Angel must "earn his wings" by 

performing cunnilingus on a menstruating woman. 

The Aghori sexual rite is often performed in a cremation ground at night, 

while both partners are seated upon a corpse. Unique to the Aghori among 

Tantric sects is a special emphasis on necromancy. The spirits of the dead 

still thought to be present in the recently expired corpse for a designated time 

are supposedly controlled through Aghoric sexual magic. These once secret 

rites were first documented outside of India by a sixteenth century Persian 

chronicler, at the beginning of the Aghoric movement. During the Victorian 

age, India's British conquerors were horrified to learn that these practices still 

continued among the remaining Aghori, who numbered no more than 300 by 

the late nineteenth century. Nevertheless, the Aghori are still commonly 
revered as holy men by many respectable middle class Indian devotees to this 


Even more than the other left-hand path Tantric sects, the Aghori 

emphasise direct, spontaneous insight of reality rather than merely 

intellectual knowledge of books or scriptures. As B. Bhattacharya describes 

them in his autobiographical account of left-hand initiation: "The Aghoris are 

direct teachers who make nothing of the body, nothing of the body functions, 

nothing of fear, shame, scorn. They look like the rejects of life and senses; 

but they reject nothing." Only very few teachers competent to awaken this 

form of initiation are traditionally understood to operate at any given time, 


and these few make themselves extremely difficult to locate. Although a few 

contemporary writings of varying reliability on the Aghoric left-hand path 

school have emerged in recent years in the West, actual initiation into the 

school is always carried out through one-to-one personal induction. 

If the revulsion inspired in the conventional-minded by Aghori lefthanded 

practices were not enough to scare away those only superficially 

curious in their practices, Aghoris often affect the outer appearance of a 

perpetually angry or insane temperament as added deterrent to the profane. 

Those who have sought instruction from them by appearing at the forbidding 

cremation grounds and garbage dumps they frequent are often met with 

mocking derision. Their habit of adopting serpents as mascots has not 

endeared them to the squeamish, and many who have approached the Aghori 

have had human skulls and bones thrown at them as a greeting. 

The Aghori well illustrate Philip Rawson's cogent observation: 

"Anyone who actually carries Tantra to its ultimate degree, as real devotees 

must, can only end up a scandalous outcast." It must be said that very few 

initiates who walk the left-hand path, in East or West, ever go this far. In 

their refusal to accord with socially acceptable concepts of the spiritual, and 

their deliberate worsening of reputation, the Aghori are the living example of 

the Tantric left-hand path proverb that states "without earning a bad name, 

one does not get to the nameless." 


At The End Of The Path: Liberation 

Such are the most prevalent historical methods of the left-hand path. But 

before we can trace the introduction and development of these techniques in 

the Western world some very important questions remain unanswered. A 

path, it must be presumed, leads somewhere. Toward what destination does 

the left-hand path finally lead the walker who follows its obscure and 

difficult way? And why do adherents of the sinister passage subject 

themselves to such outlandish physical, mental and spiritual exertions? 

In a word, the end of the path is liberation. 

There has been much confusion in the West caused by uninformed 

speculation asserting that the right-hand path and left-hand path differ 

because of their goals. This is not true. As we have attempted to clarify, only 

their methods differ. The erotic and physically enacted left-hand path and the 

non-sexual, sheerly symbolic right-hand path ultimately aim to reach the 

exact same final destination, namely moksha, or liberation. Inevitably, the 

followers of each path have tended to consider their route the best way but 

the intent of liberation is the same for both. But despite this shared final 
destination, many right-hand path Tantrikas look down on the left-hand path 

adept as a sex-mad voluptuary, just as many sinister initiates ridicule the 

follower of the Daksina Marga as a timid prude. But it is often said by adepts 

of both methods that the Varna Marga, due to its extreme methods, is the 

faster way to liberation. 

In the list of essential principles that opened this section, we stated 

that the left-hand path is "a way of liberation and illumination in this 

lifetime." These are rousing words, but without placing them in some sort of 

tangible reality, they are no better than poetic abstractions. Liberated from 

what? Illuminated to what realization? 

We have already indicated that the left-hand path adept seeks to 

liberate him/herself from passive subjection to the illusory nature of may a, 

thus freeing consciousness from the binds of self-created delusion. This 

assault on normative mentation is conducted on several fronts, engineered by 

a series of self-created shocks to the system. 

Within the subtle body, sexually animating the kundalini serpent 

opens the initiate's third eye, allowing awakening to a more complete 

awareness of reality prohibited by the usual sleeping state of mankind. In the 

physical body, the sacralization of the orgasm during ritual sex provides 

access to an altered state permitting a piercing rending of the veil, a 

transcendent ecstasy that opens the gateway to direct perception of the 

totality of being. Through the performance of sexual magic the shakta and 

shakti can alter the substance of maya, revealing the flexible nature of the 

world of visible manifestations, and the hidden extent to which mind can 

participate in the divine function of creating new realities. 

By breaking taboos and overcoming self-generated obstacles, the 


initiate is liberated from the spell cast by the hypnotizing forces of social 

control and social identity, reaching a level of freedom from such concerns 

that allows him or her to step far outside the boundaries of the conditioned 

human. By embracing the horrors and joys of physical manifestation with 

equal fervor, the sinister adept is further freed from the windowless prison 

cell of either/or dualistic thinking. That transcendence of the human reaches 

its pinnacle during the veneration of his/her sexual partner as a divine being, 

and the initiate's own Eros-fueled ecstatic transformation of personal self into 

divine Self. 

In all of these actions, the adept is liberated by realizing that every 

level of reality is his or hers to play with at will, a serious game and a joyful 

discipline that continually remanifests the left-hand path Tantrika's 

consciousness at ever higher strata of being. That much is in accord with the 

traditional teaching of the left-hand path. Although we have found great 

power in most of the traditional practices of the left-hand path, and 

recommend them to our readers, it is the next step suggested by many gurus 

of the Varna Marga that we take exception to. 

According to the most commonly taught theory of moksha, the last 

liberation from the proposed cycle of suffering, illusion and repeated 

reincarnation can only be achieved by attaining Oneness with the Absolute 

Mind, or godhead. In other words, the majority of Eastern left-hand path 

initiates seek to reach that state of non-being known as nirvana, which 

literally means "the candle is blown out" - the cessation of existence as a 

self, the willed dissolution of mind in the blinding white light of Brahman, 

the ultimate, impersonal principle said to exist beyond the screen of this 

world of appearances. A commonly used metaphor for this goal is the idea of 

the individual psyche as a drop of water being absorbed into the greater 

ocean from which it originally emerged. 

Some Westerners have oversimplified this concept, and confused this 

absolute suprasensual state with Nature and/or God, familiar concepts in the 

West. In fact, Brahman is neither - it transcends any such categorizable 

frame of reference, and the entirety of the natural cosmos and any form of 

deity that humans might imagine are considered to be merely transitory 

mirages in comparison to this far greater reality of realities. Theoretically, the 

left-hand path or right-hand path initiate who has accomplished this form of 

liberation in a lifetime, no longer exists, although the physical body through 

which this goal was accomplished still breathes, walks, eats, excretes, and 

carries out the functions of animal existence. The state of the Tantrika who 

has achieved union with Brahman has often been compared to an empty 

cocoon from which the butterfly has flown, a vacant shell. 

Although many left-hand path teachers will tell you that the above 

described selfless goal is the highest summit of initiation that can be reached 

through the sinister current, we reject this conclusion. Thus far, we have 


attempted to carefully present the authentic Varna Marga as it actually exists 

as a traditional teaching. At this point, however, we deviate from the most 

widely accepted form. The search for nirvana, from our point of view, is a 

kind of spiritualized nihilism, a suicide of core consciousness grounded in an 

unfortunate Eastern tendency towards world hatred thats antidote, in our 

opinion, can be found in the joyful magic of the left-hand path. 

The goal we seek to reach through the left-hand path is not dissolution of the 

self into a Oneness greater than ourselves. Rather, we aim to strengthen the 

most essential part of the self - alternately referred to as the psyche, the 
daemon, or the soul - into a god-like intelligence that remains deliberately 

separate from that impersonal Oneness. 

It seems absurd to us to perform the rites of sexual individuation and 

self-deification inherent in the left-hand path, freeing one's self from illusion 

thereby, only to dissolve the now separated and self-deified consciousness at 

the end of one's journey. Therefore, we walk the left-hand path towards the 

infinite perpetuation of the psyche. At first, this model of initiation may come 

as a relief to some, who might imagine that this means that they are now can 

comfortably continue forever as they currently exist, intact and unchanged. 

However, a sharp differentiation must be made here between the daemonic 

psyche we seek to sustain into an enduring divinized force, and the human 

personality, that temporary mask of identity formed by largely social factors, 

with its likes and dislikes, its habits and its neuroses. 

That relatively shallow temporal persona does increasingly dissolve 

as left-hand path initiation proceeds to work its solve et coagula upon the 

adept. In fact, the personality is often the most fatal enemy of the initiate who 

seeks to liberate consciousness, as it rather desperately clings to familiar 

boundaries. Perhaps the most perilous danger of left-hand path initiation is 

the frequently observed grasping to maintain the personality, even as 

consciousness expands beyond all known limits. 

So the sinister liberation we are speaking of can never be a 

comfortable thing, as is sometimes imagined, as simple as walking from one 

room into the other. Like a rocket jettisoning its burnt out fuel tanks as it 

ascends, something must be left behind in the process of self-deification. The 

operation of separating the unnecessary aspects of your socially 

manufactured self from the enduring core Self is often a profoundly 

disconcerting metamorphosis. The left-hand path, no matter what ultimate 

goal is sought, calls for the death of some aspects of the self, as is made clear 

by the wide-spread presence of death symbolism and imagery in its 

traditional Tantric practice. Not the least of these is the "death" experienced 

in the intensely felt orgasm of sinister sexual rites. 

The ancient Tantras themselves, like so many magical texts, are 

enigmatic enough to be interpreted in a multitude of ways. Some seemingly 


suggest the course of continued self-deification that we have followed, others 

appear to point the initiate towards the more conventional Eastern road to 

selflessness. Of course, there are many left-hand path Tantrikas who have 

cast aside the final goal recommended by most traditional instructors in favor 

of the eternal continuance of the psyche. This is relatively rare, however, and 

such Adepts are often condemned as having fallen from the path. 

Indeed, one of the authors of this book was self-righteously scolded 

by an otherwise liberated Varna Marga instructor from whom some of the 

techniques spelled out in this book were learned. According to her, to use 

the left-hand path for any purpose other than the final unraveling of the self 

was akin to "black magic", and was a grave abuse of the teaching. However, 

we take the more pragmatic view that any technique is merely a tool that be 

can be used by the practitioner for the attainment of any objective. To those 

of our readers who wish to follow the left-hand path to psychic oblivion, it is 

only fair to point out that this will not be the course we will be taking in the 

remainder of the book. In this regard, our understanding of the left-hand path 

is without limits, following the heretical and dissident unorthodoxies of the 

Varna Marga to their logical conclusions. 

The Tantras, from which the majority of the Indian left-hand 

teaching is derived, have frequently been rewritten and reshaped by later 

interpreters, many of them Brahmins hostile to the radical methods of the 

Varna Marga. There is no doubt that in the process of such editing and 

revision, a great deal of deliberate distortion and watering-down of the true 

aims of the sinister current was accomplished, in an attempt to make Tantra 

more palatable to orthodox Hindus and Buddhists. However, he or she who 

moves away from the accepted written theory and engages in the actual 

body-to-body practice of the left-hand path will discover an esoteric 

technology of the flesh that leads anywhere but the "blowing out of the 

flame" of nirvana. One of the mouth-to-ear secrets of the whispered doctrine 

is that the left-hand path can take the initiate to the very opposite of nirvana: 

the willed recreation of your present self into a deified psyche - a 

bodhisattva - whose vivid flame may burn even past the death of the 

physical body, that alchemical laboratory of transmutation. In this sense, the 

state of consciousness attained through left-hand path sexual congress can be 

understood as a bodily trial run for creating your own godhood, as well as 

the process through which that godhood is wrought. 

To explore this possibility further, it will be necessary to trace the 

sinister current as it has manifested outside of the Tantric tradition. From the 

very cradle of civilization in the temples of Babylon, hidden beneath the 

seemingly sex-negative creed of Christianity, and in the Western magical 

revival of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the siren song of the lefthand 

path calls. 


The Sinister Current In The West 


In The Beginning Was The Word 

Decoding The Language Of Western Magic 

If language is not used rightly, then what is said is not what is meant. 
If what is said is not what is meant, then that which ought to be done 

is left undone. 

- Confucius 

What cannot be articulated can't be realized. 

- Order of Sekhmet Statement 

The Logos Of The Left-Hand Path 

Before we turn our attention to the history mechanics and praxis of left-hand 

path sex magic in the Western world, a preliminary examination of the wider 

magical context in which the sex magician performs his or her operations is 

necessary. The magician who attempts to clarify these basics of magical 

practice is immediately faced with the need to come to terms with the 

archaic, often opaque language traditional of the Black Arts. Throughout this 

book, we have already made frequent use of the words "magic" and 

"magician", "sorcery", "theurgy", "initiation" and "initiate", "daemonic", 

"workings", and the "psyche." 

All too often, these elementary elements of the magician's 

vocabulary are applied without precision, necessitating this lexicon, which 

aims to keep later misunderstandings to a minimum. Although all of these 

words are drawn from the ancient Graeco-Roman Mediterranean magical 

culture, they are rooted in the same Indo-European family of languages that 

gives us most of the Sanskrit words used in the Tantric left-hand path 

teaching of erotic initiation. Not the least of these, as we shall sec, is the word 

"magic" itself. 

For the beginning magician, who may first be orienting him/herself 

to the sometimes bewildering and contradictory maze of esoteric 

terminology, this chapter will help develop useful habits of utilizing the 

magical vocabulary in a conscious and deliberate manner, rather than 

unthinkingly appropriating terms out of convenience or mental lethargy. 

Some stale magical phrases are embraced simply due to a received mystique 

that may be associated with them, much like the allure that a proven brand 

name exerts on a consumer. As for the more experienced magician, analyzing 

the magician's familiar vocabulary through fresh eyes can only add accuracy 
to one's existing magical approach. In the left-hand path magician's work to 

seize more power in the inner and outer worlds, a discriminating and 
judicious methodology of word usage is an essential aspect of reconstituting 

reality according to desire. 

One of the most common archetypes of magic in folklore and legend 

is the magician who performs miraculous feats by uttering the correct 

magical word at just the right time. Whether it is the well-timed enunciation 

of "Abracadabra!" as taught in ancient magical texts and popularly adopted 

by stage magicians, or Aladdin's "Open Sesame!", the informing principle is 

the same. Of course, the accomplishment of one's goals is never quite that 

easy or predictable. Nevertheless, there is a grain of truth in this legendary 

prototype: using words correctly and with full cognizance of their meaning is 

a magical power of the first order. It's a skill that too few magicians attempt 

to master, perhaps because it seems less glamorous and romantic than other 

branches of the Black Art. An astounding measure of human perception and 

creation of reality is composed of the weaving and manipulation of the 

abstract symbolism of words. One particular combination of words can 
literally open infinite doors of opportunity for the speaker, while the same 
exact words uttered in another situation might guarantee that the speaker is 


What is true in an exoteric sense, is confirmed in esoteric teachings 

from all quarters of the world. As we have seen, the Tantric left-hand, path 

teaching maintains that the universe can be controlled through a precise 

magical technology of sound manipulation related to words uttered by the 

gods to create the worlds, the science of mantra. Very similar is the Nordic 

lore of the runes, especially the magical and mystery-veiling verbal vibration 

said to be released by the proper utterance of the runic staves. The Biblical 

Book Of John, plagiarizing a much older Mesopotamian text, famously states 

that "In the beginning was the Word" or Logos. The Memphite Theology of 

ancient Egypt also contends that the creation of the world was implemented 

by the spoken word of a divine being - the neter Ptah. The left-hand path 

magician recreates the universe in part by taking on the god-like role of 

uttering the hidden words of power. 

Despite this overwhelming and universal importance of words to the 

creation and ordering of reality, the majority of humans misuse these 

potentially sorcerous tools with exasperating inexactitude, creating realities 

for themselves that are profoundly disordered and chaotic, because they 

literally don't know what they're saying. Therefore, the magician is well 

advised to become proficient at the application of words to the manipulation 

of reality. Not all magical skills are learnable; this one is. Many a magician 

will protest that they don't need words to perform their magic. This is very 


often true, and obviously in the ecstatic and physical techniques of erotic 

magic, words are often superfluous and even irrelevant to the objective. 

Nevertheless, magic is essentially the art of communicating to different levels 

of reality, and the honing of word structure and meaning is a key ingredient 

in all communication, even (paradoxically) non-verbal methods. 

So that this directory is as clear as possible, our first order of 

business is to define the basic terms we will use, especially those expressions 

that most easily give rise to confusion. The vocabulary of Western magic is 

almost entirely handed down to us from the world of Graeco-Roman 

antiquity, a cultural matrix imbued from top to bottom with an unambiguous 

acceptance of the value of the magical art that contemporary Western culture 

can in no way approximate. Many of the cognitive dilemmas inherent in selfdescribed 

magicians of this era making use of the inherited terminology of 

long-dead cultures can be clarified by a more precise understanding of the 

actual etymological roots of these words. 

Furthermore, the recognition of the fact that words carry very 

specific powers and associations has long been a basic core principle of 

magical practice. Like both the poet and the engineer, the magician strives to 

discover just the correct word, understanding that nomen est omen (name is 

power). What one calls something or somebody can actually change that 

object, quality or person in subtle but significant ways. As Julius Evola 

remarked in his Men Among The Ruins, "every word has its soul". Our 

dissection of the magical vocabulary is carried out in this spirit. Contrary to 

the academic's dry and rational analysis, our quest is for the hidden soul, the 

animating daemon concealed in these words. The left-hand path magician 

deliberately seeks to break with the general pattern of the mass mind as 

demonstrated in any particular time and place, in the general atmosphere of 

illiteracy bred by an increasingly audio-visual culture, what could be more 

arcane than developing your knowledge of words? 


Inasmuch as this work is directed to the practicing magician, it behooves us 

to dig into the foundation of the original meaning of magic itself. "Magic" 

and "magician" derive most recently from their Latin forms magicus and 

magus, which in turn were derived by the Romans from the Greek magikos. 

The ancient Greeks commonly referred to magic as magike tekhne, literally 

"the in of the Magi." The modem magician does well to remember the 

ancient concept of magic as in art, noticing as well that tekhne is the root 

word for "technology". Approaching magical praxis as a delicate balance of 

intuitive and aesthetic art form and logical and rational technology - at once 

an esoteric science and a Black Art - can allow for a more exacting 

approach to the development of this skill. 
The Greek concept of magike tekhne was decisively influenced by 


the Iranian Magi, known in the ancient Persian tongue as the Magoi. The 

Magi were the Medean priestly caste of Persia, respected throughout the 

ancient world for their wizardry. Perhaps the best-known account of the 

Magoi is found in the Biblical myth of the three Magi who travel to 

Bethlehem from distant kingdom to bring symbolic gifts to the infant Jesus 

upon his birth, clearly acknowledging the birth of one of their own, a fellow 


The Persian word magoi is, in turn, connected to the Sanskrit word 

Maya, which we have already described as the veil that obscures the illusive 

nature of reality from human eyes. Maya is also the very substance from 

which the Indian gods form reality, and the divine beings are known in this 

context as mayin, or magicians. An understanding of Maya, as the root of the 

word magic, commands our especial attention, as it is maya which the lefthand. 

path magician primarily works with. By viewing the roots of the word 

"magic" through the differing lenses of the ancient Greek, Persian and 

Sanskrit definitions of the word, it may he that the modern magician can 

attain a more complete understanding of what it really means to be a 

magician. For while the definitions of magic have altered dramatically in the 

intervening centuries, certain core principles remain timeless and 


Now, various authors of many magical traditions have offered their 

"definitive" interpretation of magic. As long as one recognizes that every 

author (including the authors of this book) necessarily describe what is a 

deeply subjective experience when they attempt to define magic, the 

magician will avoid being confined by the personal restrictions of any 

particular magical theorist (again, including the authors of this book). 

However, when one removes the doss or idiosyncrasies of this or that 

cultural/personal perspective, certain key components can be observed in all 

definitions of magic. Basically, magic is any activity that seems to create 

change in the natural universe that apparently defies strictly scientific 

understanding of the principle of cause and effect. These changes, which 

may manifest subtly or dramatically in tangible reality, or in the psyche of 

the individual performing the magical operation, are usually engineered by 

the manipulation of any number of symbolic systems that communicate a 

magician's will to either an internal or external agency. For the sex 

magician, that symbolic system is primarily the human body itself, 

especially its erotic energies and ecstasies. Magic always seeks to exercise a 

certain measure of control over what can be very loosely termed as "natural" 

or "supernatural" forces, according to the vantage point of the magical 

tradition within which the sorcerer/initiate operates. It is this aspect of 

personal control over universal properties that some scholars of religion 

have used to differentiate between religious activity, which is usually based 


on an acceptance of the way things are, and an attempt to harmonize 

humanity with this natural external order, and magical activity; which is 

usually based on the attempt of the individual to determine his or her own 

power in the worlds. Beyond the observation of such generalities, it is very 

difficult to proceed without resorting to dogma, doctrine or partisan 


Academics, observing magical practices from the supposedly 

objective perspective of dispassionate research, have never provided a 

totally satisfying definition of what magic actually is. Magicians, perceiving 

the same phenomenon from the entirely subjective angle of the practitioner, 

have done little better, The left-hand initiate can move away from the 

archaic esoteric language altogether, gladly leaving the dusty baggage of 

occultism behind for less confining models. What occultists refer to as 

magic can just as easily be called the breaking of conditioning and 

reprogramming; the replacing of one reality with another. The central notion 

informing magic, by whatever name, is that what is commonly accepted as 

reality is far more pliant than we have been led to believe. The magician is 

essentially a reality engineer, shaping the malleable parts of his or her own 

mind, and consequently bringing about desired reality alteration in the 

substance of the world. 

Truth to tell, most magicians live in a reality every bit as inflexible 

as their non-magically oriented fellows, with only the most superficial 

differences. Typically, during the time in which their rituals are performed, 

magicians may attempt to exercise their wills and imaginations to shape a 

few specific details of the phenomenal world to their liking. But once their 

ritual is over they basically return to the safe, orderly definition of reality 

they started from. What's worse, that reality is very often one in which the 

parameters and rules were decided upon by others. 

Magic, understood as the manipulation of maya, is present in every 

aspect of human interaction, not simply within rarefied occult circles. 

Advertisers and political spin doctors, whose carefully orchestrated spells 

cause the reality of millions to dance to their tunes, demonstrate a more 

sound grasp of magical principles than the majority of occultists, although 

they might never recognize their activities as partaking of magic. Whenever 

we respond automatically to symbolic systems, we are enmeshed in 

another's magical ritual. One of the most potent world-wide magical 

workings is locked into our acceptance of certain pieces of government 

issued paper as being of intrinsic value. When everyone in a crowded 

courtroom stands because a man in a black robe enters the room, an ancient 

hex is operating. 

A truly effective magical act will not only effect the desired goal in 

the universe. It will radically transform a magician's very self, shocking him 

or her awake, allowing a revelatory understanding of how accepted reality is 

based on obedient agreement with ideas, authorities and conditioning that 
blinds us to our own cherished illusions. The reader is wise to not accept any 
definition of so broad and complex an activity as the ultimate word on the 
subject. Magic is one of those words, like love or art, that must finally be 
determined by the individual undergoing the phenomenon and not by any 
external authority. The magician, like the artist or the lover, must constantly 
create new and revised definitions of magic as new understanding accrues 
through experience. Just as no two art critics will ever entirely agree on a 

definition of what constitutes art, so it is with magic. One serviceable 

definition from a non-occult perspective, was offered by Andre Breton and 

Antonio Artaud, describing their surrealist revolution in 1925: "A means of 

totally transforming the mind and everything which resembles it". 

Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh provide another viable approach 

to magic in their history of alchemy, The Elixir And The Stone: 

"In its broadest sense, magic is the "art of making things happen'. In its 

broadest sense, therefore, magic can he defined as a metaphor for the 

dynamic relationship between human consciousness or will and everything 

that lies beyond it - events, circumstances, objects, other people, Magic 

implies at least some element of control, either through guidance or 
manipulation. It implies, that is, a technique whereby reality is encouraged, 

persuaded, induced or coerced to conform to certain specific objectives. 

Magic, in short, is the process of exploiting the malleability of reality, and of 

shaping it - or alchemically transmuting it - in accordance with given 

purposes or goals." 

Much as with any consideration of the objective value of artistic creation, 

what one magician considers an experience of infinite profundity may seem 

entirely worthless or even ridiculous to another magician. For this reason, 

among many others, magic is a discipline ill-suited for those who require 

hard and fast rules and absolutely verifiable results. 

Although we use the word magician in this text to facilitate ease of 

communication, it should be noted that those operating outside of a Western 

classical cultural framework are not limited to this word to describe 

themselves. The Sanskrit word siddha is commonly used in India to describe 

those who practice magic, and is certainly appropriate to the left-hand path, 

considering its sub-continental roots. Related to this word through their 

common Indo-European language stream is the Nordic practitioner of seithr, 

a left-hand path sex magic of Northern Europe, a Hyperborean shamanism. 

From Siberia comes the word shaman, the master of ecstasy whose magic is 

achieved while in a state of trance. A multiplicity of other ways to describe 


the magician can be discovered in the esoteric traditions of the world; a 

surprising amount of power can be awakened by locating exactly the right 

designation for your practice. 

Magic Black And White 

A word already fraught with ambiguity and open to interpretation becomes 

even mistier when painted a specific color. There are those who insist on 

designating this form of magic as "black" and that form as "white." In our 

view, this color-coding does nothing but perpetuate very limited and 

arbitrary cultural and religious prejudices at the expense of clarity. At its 

most simplistic and ignorant level, the black magic/white magic appellation 

is connected to the equally primitive good/evil dichotomy. Since we 

attribute no objective meaning whatsoever to the terms "good" and "evil", it 

only follows that we must reject the popular consideration of black magic as 

magic performed in the service of Evil and white magic as magic that 

perpetuates the Good. Ancient Greek magi, despite their relative lack of 

moral judgment, described practices intended to harm, bind or hypnotize as 

kakotechnia, "the evil art". This concept can he compared to the common 

Indian description of Tantric left-hand path magic - especially the 

previously described six malevolent rites - as Abichara. 

Historically, the phrase black magic seems to have been devised by 

the alchemist Albertus Magnus, the thirteenth century mage who proposed 

that black magic was the "demonic" opposite of a benevolent natural magic, 

which he attributed to heavenly angelic powers. The twentieth century mage 

Gurdjieff, often denigrated as a black magician by his detractors, proposed a 

typically idiosyncratic definition of black magic, describing it as "a 

falsification, an imitation of the outward appearance of 'doing'." For those 

magicians whose identity formation demands a simple, easily grasped label, 

the roles of black magician and white magician are attractive categorizations 

requiring a bare minimum of thought to adopt. Self-described black 

magicians, enamoured of popular conceptions of the allure of evil, and 

usually motivated by a need to prove their social defiance, can step into an 

instant one-size-fits-all subcultural role satisfying the need for easy rebellion. 

At the other extreme, the self-described white magician, who is often 

compelled to prove his or her social acceptability, can pat themselves heartily 

on their hacks for becoming such benevolent beings. Both tactics reduce the 

complex multiverse of magical operations to a cartoon level. If such 

symbolism is sufficient to satisfy your aesthetic needs as a magician, we can 

hardly argue with matters of personal taste; by all means, describe yourself in 

whatever terms you like - only do so consciously. However, for the more 

complicated pursuit of magic encouraged here, the differentiations of black 

and white magic will he refrained from, to avoid unnecessary entanglement 


in needless symbolic confusion. 

To illustrate the capricious and restricted nature of this black/white 

business, a few examples will suffice. Although black is certainly the color 

associated with evil in the post-Christian European world., its transglobal 

symbolism is far more ambiguous. In ancient Egypt, for instance, black was a 

symbol associated entirely with the cultural good, since it represented the 

fertile black earth of the Nile. Egypt's ancient name, Kmt, means "the black 

land", a designation which was translated into Arabic as al khem, and may 

have given birth to the English words alchemy and chemistry, sciences long 

connected to Egypt. The daemonic and culturally "evil" beings in Egyptian 

religion, the foremost of these being the god Set, were colored red, the 

recognized hue of cosmic malevolence. Therefore, in ancient Egypt, a 

magician who practices what the modern Western world designates as "black 

magic" would have chosen the color red as a symbolic subversion, Red magic 

- appropriate though the phrase may be for an Egyptophile magician - might 

summon up the odd image of a Marxist sorcerer in contemporary parlance. 

Similarly, although the color white is accepted by Christianized 

culture as the epitome of cosmic benevolence and holiness, white is quite 

commonly regarded as a demonic and malefic color in many African and 

Asian cultures. The poet Martin Fierro once wrote that "The White paints the 

devil black/the Black paints him white." This only demonstrates the extreme 

relativity of color symbolism to magical practice. Our recommendation to the 

magician is to avoid adopting symbolism related to any one particular time 

period or culture as much as possible, unless that symbolism is specifically 

chosen for a particular magical operation. This opens up - rather than 

restricts - the magician's ability to communicate his or her will to the many 

levels of reality. We have personally found that the value of separating 

magical activity into black and white branches is unserviceable to the 

pragmatic magician's needs. 

On the other hand, we have found the phrase "the Black Arts" to be 

a useful short-hand term to serve as an umbrella for the panoply of magical 

techniques available to the magician, especially since it emphasizes the 

important artistic nature of magike tekhne. Since this phrase stands on its 

own without an inbuilt comparison to an opposing "White Arts" it seems to 

us to be a more potent description of the subject, free of any superfluous 

moral implication. The Black Arts is also a purer term than black magic, 

since its use predates the Christian branding of all magic as evil. For 

instance, Ovid (43 B.O - A.D. 18) already refers to the sorcery of the 

legendary enchantresses Medea and Circe as "their black art" in his famous 

Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love). 

However, this is not to deny the necessity of observing and 

classifying some of the very real differences that do exist between various 


magical approaches. The ability of language to separate discrete opposites is 

of great use to the magician in creating a more workable magical blueprint. 

Of more precise benefit to our own objectives, and therefore utilized in this 

study as key descriptive devices, are the Tantric terms left-hand path and 

right-hand path. As opposed to black and white magic, left-hand path and 

right-hand path, if properly understood, do not infer subjective moral 
qualities of good and evil. They focus instead on more pragmatic aspects of 
actual method and objective. To say that one is a black magician or a white 
magician does not tell us anything about what the magician actually does, it 

only vaguely tells us how his or her practices are viewed within an abstract 

moral code of dubious value. Left-hand and right-hand, if used precisely 

rather than poetically, can tell us exactly what a magician's procedure and 

techniques actually are. 


Antiquity also provides us with other descriptions of specific branches of the 

magical art that are still useful today, although they must be applied with 

care. The Greeks spoke of a form of magic known as theourgia, a 

combination of the words theos = god and ergon = working. Theurgy, then 

and now, is thus the working of magic that brings the magician into contact 

with divine beings. Theurgy presupposes that the magician possesses some 

sort of theological philosophy concerning the existence of divine or 
praeterhuman intelligences and entities. Therefore, those magicians whose 
theology is basically atheistic could not be said to be theurgists. In essence, 
whenever the magician performs magic that invokes or evokes a god of any 

kind, he or she is technically practicing theurgy. Invocation, traced to its 

Latin origins, is literally to call in or on a deity (in = in vocare = call), while 

evocation is to call forth, or to summon. In the Middle Ages and during the 

magical revival of the nineteenth century, theurgy was deemed to be "greater 

magic", more acceptable than the so-called "lesser magic" that dealt with 

demonic beings in the sense that contact was sought with the higher (thus 

greater) order of divine beings. 

No matter what deity is summoned during such operations, the 

theurgist is performing the sacerdotal function of priest or priestess of the 

deity, forming a human conduit to the divine realm. Of course, if no such 

contact is made, we arc merely speaking of delusion, a common enough 

occupational hazard of all magicians. Considering that the majority of 

readers of this book will be concerned with evocation and invocation of 

deities often condemned by other religions as daemonic (another loaded 

word calling for later contextual definition), such differentiations as 

greater/higher and lesser/lower are fairly irrelevant to our objectives. 

Additional confusion on this point has been caused by the use among some 


initiatory schools of the phrases "lesser black magic" and "greater black 

magic", which rather arbitrarily and ahistorically assign new meanings to the 

traditional definitions of lesser/greater forms of magic known for centuries. 

As we are determined to create lesser rather than greater bewilderment, we 

have avoided incorporating phrases that tend to be obstacles to clarity, or 

that are particularly associated with any one modern sectarian view or the 

other. It's for this reason that we also prefer the traditional word "magic" to 

the currently popular "magick", with its specifically Crowleyan 


We consider that the sex magician is practicing theurgy whenever he 

or she invokes or evokes any non-human entity during the performance of 

erotic-magical operations. Examples of erotic theurgy include the seeking of 

initiatory understanding through ritual sexual intercourse with a chosen 

divine intelligence, astral sex with succubi or incubi, or using an excess of 

sexual ecstasy or its aftermath to temporarily become a certain deity, among 

an infinite number of other options. It is the task of each individual magician 

to determine whether those phenomena that seem to function as deities or 

demons are independent beings existing free of human thought, or if they are 

manifestations of one's own mind. It is the way of the right-hand path, with 

its emphasis on bhakti or devotion, to insist that its initiates accept a religious 

vision of a given deity out of blind faith alone. The left-hand path approach 

to theurgy is far more concerned with awakening the divine aspect of the 

magician him/herself. 

The rites of the traditional Varna Marga are theurgic in that they are 

almost always focused on the sexual interplay between Shiva, the male 

principle, and Shakti, the female principle. However, exaltation of female 

divinity in the world and in one's self (regardless of gender) is the true focus 

of the left-hand, path, perhaps expressed most dramatically in kundalini, the 

awakening of Shakti within one's own body. We view these exercises as 

means to the greater objective of personal attainment of an independent godlike 

consciousness in this lifetime, the act of self-deification. 

We shall also frequently refer to the magician as a sorcerer or sorceress, one 

who practices the art of sorcery. These words - which have come to be 
interchangeable with magician or magic - derive from the Latin sortiarius, 

one who throws or declares a lot, originally for purposes of divination. 

However, through modem usage of the word, the practice of sorcery can be 

understood as a more specific type of magic. For our purposes, sorcery is 

understood to center on the stratagem of orchestrating a pre-determined 

transformation in the world apparently outside of the magician's psyche by 

making use of physical objects, words, thought patterns, to effect that change. 


In the case of erotic sorcery, the manipulation of sexual energy obviously 

constitutes the principal means of effecting the desired alteration of reality. 

One exemplar of sorcery would he the utilization of magic to cast a 

spell on another human being. Since we will be concentrating on sexual 

sorcery in this volume, perhaps the simplest and most obvious basic instance 

of this technique would be the magically inspired creation of a magical 

surrogate that represents the object of your lust, a form of sympathetic magic. 

The sorcerer performs a magical operation in which willed concentration, 

altered state of consciousness and powerful imagination are focused on the 

object that serves as a substitute for the person you desire. You essentially 

convince yourself, through the controlled and temporary suspension of 

ordinary brain function, that the symbolic representation is the individual you 

are lusting after. By changing that object and bringing it under the control of 

your magically heightened consciousness you are changing - or at least 

greatly influencing - the actual person you long for. The advanced sorcerer 

can far exceed such simple mechanics in both subtlety and method but the 

underlying principle of sorcery is the same no matter how sophisticated the 


Since, depending on one's point of view, certain mechanical aspects 

of the mind itself may be considered an object outside of the magician's core 

self, it may well be that sorcery can include the transformation of the 

sorcerer's own mental processes. Granting that truly precise definition can be 

blurred through such fine points, we prefer to classify the kind of magic that 

aims to change the inner self rather than the outer world - as interconnected 

as these may be - as being of an initiatory (rather than a sorcerous) 


The ancients generally understood most other forms of magic to fall 

under the category of thamatourgia or "wonder-working" from the Greek 

thauma = wonder + ergon = work. When the sex magician creates changes 

in the inner or outer world that seem to defy the known laws of cause and 

effect by transforming the body and psyche through any deliberate alteration 

of consciousness, the results must surely seem wondrous and even 
miraculous to the non-magician. Thus, thaumaturgy can be used to describe 

almost any form of magical operation. 


Just as we consign magical actions focused on altering the seemingly 

external universe as the work of the sorcerer, we designate the more difficult 

work of se/f-modification as initiation, the work of the initiate. Initiation, a 

word derived from the Latin initiare, which simply means to enter upon or 

to begin, is a word fraught with many unfortunate cultural associations that 

need to be dispelled before proceeding. One immediately thinks of being 


initiated into a secret society or fraternity by the performance of a 

clandestine ceremony, heavy on mystical mumbo-jumbo but lacking in any 

discernible clarity or usefulness. That kind of initiation, the carefully 

scripted induction rite witnessed in Freemasonry or in the magical 

organizations inspired by it, is not what we're referring to. 

Anthropologists and students of comparative religions also describe 

as initiation the sacred rites that mark certain phases of an individual's 

entrance into various levels of tribal religions in both primitive and civilized 

cultures. While such practices may occasionally possess more authentic 

magical power than the first variety, the collective and socially binding 

nature of these traditional customs is quite different than the deeply personal 

and self-directed initiation of the left-hand path. Perhaps a better Western 

historical model for left-hand path initiation can be found in the ancient 

Hellenic mystery schools, of which that located at Eleusis is the most 

famous. These seemed to partake of some of the same self-directed 

development of the psyche we are concerned with in this study. 

For us, initiation - especially as it transpires on the left-hand path 

direction fostered by this hook - is an ongoing process of radical selfdevelopment 

driven from within, rather than a ceremony enacted from without. 

However, not everyone who simply practices theurgic, thaumaturgic, or 

sorcerous magic can truly be said to be an initiate. A certain amount of native 

skill and training can allow many individuals to be fairly successful 

magicians, achieving a surprisingly high ratio of positive results through 

sorcery. You may well be able to create desirable changes in the circumstances 

of your life, the people around you, and your environment in general by 
developing a fairly attentive magical practice. These outer changes, no matter 
how dramatic, will not necessarily have a deep impact on the deepest levels of 

your psyche, which is where the process of initiation most meaningfully 

manifests. We have known many a magician who developed enough magical 

skill to secure their dream job, their dream lover, their dream home, and other 

tangible goals. Magicians of this type are certainly not he scoffed at; it takes 

hard work to attain such satisfactory circumstances, as any observation of the 

generally miserable lot of frustrated mankind will testify. Despite some 

magician's success at willing these desires into flesh, it very often happens that 

their magical development screeches to a halt upon obtaining their shopping 

list of limited needs. They never ask the basic philosophical question required 

by initiation, which is: "Who is the person who accomplished all of this, and 

what do 1 do now?" 

To use magic in an initiatory sense, that is to develop and gain a more 

comprehensive knowledge of the self, rather than to merely satisfy one's 

immediate needs, goes against the grain of all of the messages being 

transmitted to us twenty four hours a day from the forces of social control. 

The world generally wants you to be a good citizen, a good consumer, an 


obedient follower of the rules. It offers no encouragement to the magician who 

actively seeks to take control of his or her own destiny through initiation, 

although there is an abundance of loose talk praising the abstract idea of 

freedom. Genuine freedom from the thought constructs of others, followed by 

genuine liberty from your own learned patterns of thought, are some of the lefthand 

path initiate's goals, and the illuminated libertine can utilize sexual magic 

as a method of achieving this daemonic and physical autonomy. 

While this book contains practical information that can certainly 

assist the magician in achieving sorcerous goals, it is most relevant to the 

initiate, who is committed to a life-long process of self-knowledge and selftransformation. 

Lest the reader imagine that by encouraging initiation we seek 

to nourish a warm, fuzzy glow of hope in the infinite horizons of human 

potential, a la the New Age movement, nothing could be further from our 

minds. There are in fact definite limits to every human's potential, as left-hand 

path initiation can sometimes cruelly teach you. While the possibilities of selfchange 

available to some human beings are certainly much wider than they 

may at first imagine, this does not mean that "you can become anything you 

want" as many occult dreamers and spiritual salesmen will so readily promise 

you. Left-hand path initiation offers you opportunities of transformation 

inaccessible to the lazy and the ignorant, although it is not a passport to 

fulfilling every dream and whim you've ever entertained. This news always 

disappoints the incurably optimistic, or those seeking easy short-cuts, but can be 

an urgent jolt into awakening for those who are prepared for it, and have the 

patience to see the process through. 

The initiate of the left-hand path - in contrast to the student of other 

more commonly accepted spiritual approaches - does not relax in a warm bath 

of pleasantly unthreatening mysticism. He or she confronts all of the unknown 

facets of the self with surgical precision. The results of this ceaseless selfconfrontation 

can often be deeply disquieting and even aggravating to the 

fixed concept of the self codified by social interaction and the biologically 

inherited anthropoid need to fit into the tribal/familial/cultural mind. Lefthand 

path initiation necessitates the deliberate act of severe and 
uncompromising conflict with all of the inner and outer constraints that bind 
your absolute liberty of mind, body and action in the daemonic and material 

realms of existence. 

Many individuals drawn to the outer symbolism of these magical 

actions of subversion have failed to see that such initiatory dissent is not 

engaged in with the kind of foolish bravado that only leads to one's 

increased powerlessness. Popular manifestations of the cruder forms of lefthand 

path thought have inspired much impotent thumbing of one's nose at 

societal scarecrows. For instance, nothing could be easier than mocking the 

hypocrisies of organized religion or governments. It is considerably harder 

work to identify and ridicule your own hypocrisies, an action of self- 

awareness that left-hand path initiates strive to accomplish despite the blind 

spots we all develop. 

Left-hand path initiation, then, is not defined by easy rebellion; it 

cuts much deeper, ultimately transforming the initiate's self, and not merely 

serving as a justification for mindless defiance of convention. The initiate's 

discerning ability to differentiate between empty anti-social posturing and 

the authentic initiatory disposition of a theomorphic consciousness that has 

transcended Good and Evil in the Nietzschean sense is essential. Much of 

the left-hand path initiate's work consists of intensive self-engineered 

deprogramming and deconditioning of one's learned behaviors, thoughts and 

habits. The initiated sex magician redirects the powerful drives of eroticism 

to these tasks of self-change, while the magician using sex for sorcery alone 

only seeks to make the world more suited to one's desire, without necessarily 

producing self-transformation. This conscious recreation of the self is far 

removed from the traditional "initiation" familiar to occultists, which is 

usually little more than a recitation or memorization of supposedly necessary 

facts and correspondences handed down by various schools, along with a 

parroting of occult jargon and buzzwords specific to some particular 

teaching. Left-hand path initiation ultimately wrests the control mechanism 

of the self away from any outside source, placing the initiate in full control 

of his or her powers of self-creation. The left-hand path initiate does not 

submit to any force outside of his consciousness. 

A cautionary note: while this refusal to submit may seem to be a 

wondrously liberating sentiment, it should be understood that for those who 

go about it correctly, sinister current initiation is never an easy task. It will 

be recalled that the Great Goddess tells the sage Vasistha that the left-hand 

path is "without austerity and pain." But very few can confront the 

unexpected self -insights revealed in the process without a fair degree of pain 

and disillusionment. However, on the Varna Marga, each disillusionment is 

experienced as the heroic delight of enlightenment, and with each new 
disillusionment, another notch is added to the initiate's belt, another fetter 

removed from the bondage of the pashu. 

Obviously, this very book can easily be misused as another means of 

escaping from your self, were you to slavishly and uncritically follow its 

recommendations without careful self-analysis and personal weighing of 

your own desires. The disconsolate or frustrated human may despair of ever 

liberating his or her self from the discomfort of too much self-awareness. 

The sharp awareness of self in all of its dimensions sought by the left-hand 

path initiate is exactly what most human beings desperately seek to avoid. 

Submitting to the control of some other power - any other power - can seem 

like an attractive escape route to this unhappy lot. 

Of the many powers one can submit to in the world, the dark and 


often mysterious influence of one's own sexuality can exert a lethal 

attraction. The person whose interest in sex magic is motivated by this drive 

to escape from the self will most likely only find disappointment and 
further despair. In fact, sex magic very often provides the magician with a 
clear and unshrinking mirror of the self that forces self-change of the most 
radical kind. This is one of its great advantages for the initiate, and one of 
its greatest dangers for the ordinary man and woman. 
Magic of the theurgic, thaumaturgic or sorcerous kind can, and 
usually is, confined to a limited area of one's existence, and can be nothing 

more than a tool allowing one to achieve certain fixed and finite goals. 

Initiation, however, once embarked upon, informs one's entire being, and 

entails a long-term commitment not necessarily required for the practice of 

magic alone. In the Greek mystery religions, an initiate was a mystes - "one 

who is initiated" - a word which gave rise to the English word mystic. In a 

certain sense, then, sorcery is strictly magical - the manipulation of maya - 

but initiation must enter into mysticism. 


Drawing again on the definition of an ancient Greek word, ergon = work, 

we will refer to most of the magical operations referred to in this book as 

workings. The implications of performing a magical work or ergon is most 

appropriate for sex magical practice, since ergon is directly related to the ta 

orgia, or "secret rites" of the Dionysian Bacchanal, and thus to the English 

words orgy and organ, two words of especial relevance to sex magicians. 

Some confusion has arisen in regard to the word orgasm, which is actually 

not related to ergon or orgia but derives from the Greek orge = impulse, and 

possibly the Sanskrit urja = vigor. 

The operations encompassed in the phrase magical working 

transcend those proscribed and often repetitive actions usually referred to by 

magicians as rituals. It's instructive to note that the root word rit in ritual can 

also he found in the Greek arithmos, or number, which provides a clue to the 

rigid, unchanging and number-like quality of most ritualizing. Indeed, many 

non-magicians often describe the compulsive repetitious behaviors of their 

lives as "ritualistic", as in the ritual of patronizing the same restaurant every 

Friday night, always wearing a favorite blue dress on a first date, or always 

buying the morning newspaper from the same newsstand on the way to 

work. The sinister initiate actively struggles to avoid such reassuring, mindnumbing 

rituals, in his or her everyday life or when performing magic. Any 

ritual activity that deadens or soothes is a deterrent to the charged 

wakefulness we seek to engender in ourselves. 

The magic of any genuine left hand path working, particularly the 

sex magical working, is best formed along more spontaneous and organic 

lines, eschewing such traditional props as written ritual texts, and customary, 

supposedly obligatory ritual props, such as bells, candles, robes, pentagrams 
and the like. In the pure magical opera of the working, the magician seeks to 

keep such extraneous devices to a bare minimum, drawing on the stark 

powers of the mind and body alone to effect one's magical will in the world. 

The word ritual tends to imply a well-rehearsed, systematic "acting out" of 

religious or metaphysical symbolism, little different than the extravagant but 

empty mummery practiced by organized religions in their places of worship. 

While magic can most certainly be a religious experience, in the truest sense 

of the term, it should never be the kind of religious experience that merely 

comforts by going through the motions of a routine. Our somewhat more 

clinical use of the word "working" suggests a more unconfined manipulation 

of magical energy, involving direct encounter with the numinous, as 

unencumbered by habitual response or the reliance on familiar magical 

crutches as possible. 

Even more to be avoided than the customary orthodoxy of repetitive 

ritual is ceremony, which can only imply the reenactment of proscribed rites 

ordained by law, entrenched by custom, and performed according to an 

unbending set of rules. The formula and recipe of ceremony are certain 

death for the vitality of the left-hand path magician, who remains vigilant 

through an experimental, ever-changing reinvention of magical strategy. 

Most ritual and ceremonial magic is static, relying on the tried and true 

instead of venturing out into new and unexplored directions. While the left 

hand hand path initiate may wish to observe certain ceremonial occasions, 

such as weddings, funerals, and. other rites of observance and celebration, 

even these should not he the simple recitation of text enjoined by profane 

society. Such rites should always be magical workings in and of themselves 

that cause action and change in the self and in the outer world. 

The Daemonic 

We have already referred several times to the Daemonic, another word 

easily misinterpreted if taken at face value. One may understandably assume 

that we refer to the putative evil spirits or infernal beings that Christian 

theologians and traditional demonologists so often direct their fulminations 

against. Since this study scrupulously shuns the entire worldview implied by 

use of the simplistic good/evil dichotomy, and the authors don't accept the 

existence of evil as a force that exists outside of culturally determined value 

judgments nor the existence of an inferno populated with malign bat-winged 

entities, our reference to the Daemonic is something altogether on a different 

plane. Yet again, we return to the original source of the word in the Greek 

language, which offers a richer and thus more useful definition for the 

magician than the limiting Christianized definition. 

The word "Daemon", from the Greek daimon, originally carried no 


pejorative implication or connection with evil. It merely referred to a kind of 

protective spirit or demi-divinity thought to be associated with each 

individual. Deriving from daiomai or "I distribute", the daemon was 

considered as a literal distributor of fate. Daemon has also been defined as 

"replete with wisdom", and in this regard, the daemon was also deeply 

connected to the Roman concept of the genius, a god that presided over 

one's birth. Persons of remarkable talent or extraordinary accomplishment 

were considered to be guided by a Daemon or Genius, just as the concept of 

Genius loci is still used to describe the distinctive spirit of a specific place. 

Perhaps the most illustrious historical example of this is Socrates, who 

claimed that he heard the voice of a daemon, or genius, that guided his life. 

According to R.B. Onians, in his The Origins Of European Thought, the 

word "genius" was originally the Roman equivalent of the Greek psyche, 

described as "the life-spirit active in procreation, disassociated from and 

external to the conscious self that is centered in the chest." Significantly, for 

the most advanced stages of left-hand path initiation, the genius of an 

individual was believed to be a subtle element of the human being that could 

survive the death of his or her physical mechanism. 

The genius of the Romans, said to possess the procreative power of 

sexuality that survives death, has much in common with the ancient 

Egyptian khabit, or shadow, one of the eight powers that make up the human 

life-force. In his essay "Egyptian Anthropology", the magician Don Webb 

has described the shadow as being "of extreme importance" since 

"It is the source of one's power of mobility, and one's reproductive power. 

The shadow can be stolen when one sleeps, causing the object of the theft to 

die. Certain powerful sorcerers can detach their shadows and send them on 

missions of harm or espionage. The shadow follows the dead into the Tuat, 

thus assuring his or her mobility there." 

Of relevance to the sex magician is Webb's statement that the shadow held 

the sexuality of the being, and to the extent one's sexuality survived death it 

was through the shadow." 

Thus, the Demons Of The Flesh evoked in the title of this work are 

the unique and inimitable spiritual forces - the daemon, genius, shadow or 

psyche - connected with each self-realized sex magician of the left-hand 

path, the individual daemonic intelligences that can be best accessed through 

magical operations. Communication with these daemons - beings 

interpreted by some as manifestations of unknown aspects of "the higher 

sell", and by others as literal non-human entities - allows the magician to 

more completely control one's self-created destiny. The inner genius or 

daemon inhabiting the body was inextricably linked with an individual's 


luck in the world. 

In a slightly different sense, we use the Daemonic as a synonym for 

the spiritual and metaphysical realm of human consciousness, that realm 

where much of the magician's most enduring work is performed. It is in the 

Daemonic stratum of being that the magician encounters and interacts with 

the eternal and cosmic principles, transcending the transitory and strictly 

human-defined sphere of magical activity. One of these Daemonic eternal 

principles of particular bearing to the left-hand path sex magician is the 

Feminine Daemonic, the living essence of the dark feminine principle. 

Old school occultists will perhaps understand the Daemonic sphere 

of consciousness as akin to "the astral plane" or as the region where the 

"akashic record" can be encountered. If the human magician can indeed 

create a part of himself or herself that is immortal, as some left-hand path 

schools claim, it is on the Daemonic level. If the magician seeks to 
experience a semi-divine state of consciousness during a magical working, 
he or she must first attain the Daemonic perspective before doing so. When 
the magician transmits his will into the universe to effect more than just the 
human lifestream, he or she does so from the Daemonic station. It must be 

stressed that the word "Daemon", in and of itself, is morally neutral, 

originally possessing none of the implication of evil later attached to it by 

Christianity. For the Greeks, a benevolent daemon was designated as an 

eudaemon and a maleficent one was known as a cacodaemon. 

The Psyche 

Defining the Daemonic leads us to consider the corresponding, and equally 

hard to grasp concept of the soul, alternately the Greek psyche or the Latin 

anima. As the classical philologist Georg Luck writes in his Magie Und 

Andere Geheimlehren In DerAntike: "in a certain sense the soul is a 

daemon". If we understand the Daemon or soul/psyche/anima to be words 

that describe an ultimately nameless indwelling metaphysical essence that 

occupies the physical body - an essence that is the core of what makes you 

an independent being - Luck's description is comprehended more clearly. 

One cannot speak of left-hand path initiation without attempting to 

define the psyche, that elusive but all-important personal essence that is the 

consciousness itself. Although the importance of the flesh to sex magic must 

not be underestimated, the physical body alone is only the tool that the 

psyche manipulates to exercise its subtler and less tangible objectives. Of 

course, the argument has been offered that the psyche may well be nothing 

more than a complex phantasm produced by the brain, and is therefore 

nothing more than another bodily phenomenon. While this is a quandary no 

magician should ignore, a scientific analysis of this question extends beyond 

the scope of this study. Let us instead focus on attempting to provide a 

definition of the soul/psyche that serves the initiate and the magician in his or 

her work. 

Of no small significance to the initiate working with the 

masculine/feminine polarities intrinsic to erotic magic is the fact that the very 

word is derived directly from the Greek name Psyche, the Hellenic goddess 

of the soul. This connection between our modern word "psyche" and the 

name of a goddess illustrates the very ancient understanding of a mystery 

central to the left-hand path, "the path of woman". The psyche, understood as 

an indwelling goddess, is essentially a feminine essence that literally 
animates the human being, related to the feminine shakti power so central to 
the traditional Indian left-hand path. In the Gnostic tradition, the idea of the 
divine Sophia, the spark of divine wisdom that is said to be hidden in every 
human being, is also understood as a female entity. In the modem West, the 
influential psyc/i-ologist Carl Jung provided us with a contemporary model of 
this concept. Jung's anima, which he borrowed from one of the Latin words 
for the psyche, was defined specifically as the feminine psychic essence 

inhabiting every man's consciousness. 

The best-known myth concerning the goddess Psyche also sheds 

light on the subject of this book, for Psyche was said to have fallen madly in 

love with none other than Eros. This passion between the spirit and sexuality 

demonstrates a clear esoteric understanding in the ancient world of the 

inextricable bond that exists between two levels of being that the 

Christianized West has always insisted on separating. Much of the Occidental 

magical tradition maintains this division between the Erotic and the Psychic, 

although they arc reconciled again in the work of the left-hand path magician. 

While every level of your psychobiological being is impacted and 

transformed through the process of left-hand path initiation - including the 

body so scorned by the male-directed mass religions - it is in the more fluid 

psyche, your core self, that the most enduring Remanifestations occur. Every 

culture and metaphysical teaching possesses its own system of soulcraft, and 

we recommend that the pragmatic magician compare as many of these as 

possible before determining his or her own approach to the development of 

the psyche. 

An Exercise In Etymology 

Hopefully, in reading this chapter, you have identified some magical words 

or phrases that you may have adopted during the course of your life that are 

deserving of etymological analysis. Although this book is written from the 

perspective of left-hand path sex magicians for others who wish to learn this 

art, the reader should not instantly adopt the identity of "left-hand path sex 

magician" unless the principles and exercises outlined here actually speak to 



As for the Sanskrit jargon of the left-hand path tradition itself shakti, 

kundalini, mantra, maya, yoni and so forth the magician should understand 

that these words are but useful descriptive devices. One shouldn't lose the 

forest for the trees by becoming so immersed in nomenclature that one 

neglects the far more useful realities these sounds symbolize. To do so would 

be to slip into merely abstract considerations, turning away from the physical 

world where left-hand path initiation is rooted. 

In reading this, some will probably discover that they've grown lazy 

in their thinking in some areas, describing one's self or one's magical 

activities with words that don't actually serve personal magical objectives. 

For example, many magicians choose to describe themselves as witches, 

pagans, Satanists, Chaos magicians, magickians, white magicians, black 

magicians, or any number of other popular terms that provide instant identity 

on rather shaky grounds. Look into the actual meanings and implications of 

these words anew according to the science of word definition rather than as 

loosely defined by the various magical subcultures from which they spring. 

You may find that such words don't correctly describe you at all, and 

that they can actually form an impediment to the important task of selfanalysis 

that underlies all magical work. On the other hand, you may find that 

your chosen moniker is more correct than you previously knew. Use such 

titles with a magician's conscious sense of the appropriate for you also 

magically mold yourself by what you call yourself. Try to delete the use of as 

much vague magical and occult jargon from your vocabulary as possible, 

always aiming at a higher and more specific level of precision and accuracy. 

Thus do the magi of the left-hand path begin their work of recreating 

the world. 

At The Left Hand Of Christ 

The Holy Whore And The Gnostic Magus 

Let not your left hand know what your right hand does. 

-Attributed to Jesus, Matthew 6.3 

Isn't it a somewhat pedantic and priggish attitude to invoke all the forces but 

Jesus? It makes him a sort of devil" and so liable to attract all the good 


Aleister Crowley, on the sex-magical invocation of Christ. 

The Cross The West Bears 

Anyone who attempts to follow the elusive trail of the left-hand path in the 

West eventually smashes into one monumental roadblock on the way. 

That obstacle is the deadly influence of organized Christianity's 

enduring stranglehold on Western sexuality. To understand the peculiar 

situation in which the Western sinister current sex magician has been forced 

to operate, we must first come to terms with the distorted psychosexual 

conditions that the past centuries of Christian dominance have engendered. 

Without a doubt, Hindu and Buddhist puritanism and restrictions of 

sexuality present their own unique challenges to the Eastern adept of the 

left-hand path. But they simply can't compare for sheer ferocity with the 

hatred of the body that informs the exoteric Christian worldview Any 

attempt to integrate the left-hand path into the Western world must consider 

the pernicious influence that the popular cult of crucifixion - even in its 
currently waning manifestation - has brought to bear on the deepest levels of 

erotic experience. 

Some readers may find it perverse and paradoxical to begin the 

quest for a Western left-hand path by dwelling on the negative impact of 

institutional Christianity, a religion which originated in the East. After all, 

thousands of years before the spread of the Christian epidemic, the magical 

and the erotic were celebrated as integral aspects of highly advanced 

Western cultures. It's all well and good to look back fondly to the spirit of 

erotic liberty and joy that was known to the pre-Christian West of antiquity. 

But the rich sex-magical tradition fostered in the founts of Western 
civilization, ancient Greece and Rome - as well as the lesser known erotic 

sorcery practiced in the "barbarian" Nordic and Celtic regions - were almost 
completely annihilated by the conquering armies of the Cross. Christianity's 
destruction of the ancient sex-magical traditions of Europe has left Western 


magicians with no living native practice of erotic initiation to learn. 

Although some neo-heathens have tried admirably to resurrect these 

shattered relics to their former vibrancy, even the best results are inevitably 

lacking in historical continuity. Western sex magicians have had to do their 

best to overcome Christianity's devastating impact on erotic magic by 

piecing together fragments from the ruins. Despite their efforts, many of 

these attempts to reconstitute a pre-Christian approach to sexual magic are 

often mired in idealization, romanticism, and fanciful wishful thinking - not 

the best tools with which to forge a viable system of sexual initiation. 

As we have already illustrated, sex-magical practices roughly 

analogous to the left-hand path have emerged now and again throughout the 

Western world, apparently independent of Tantric influence. If left-hand path 

initiation is actually a universal neurophysical phenomenon, rooted in the 

body, rather than in the peculiarities of any particular culture, this should not 

be surprising. However, in attempting to sketch a concise outline of the lefthand 

path in the West, we observe two different streams of the sinister 

current. The eldest of these is an indigenous tradition of sex magic in the 

West that not infrequently parallels what we have already described as the 

essential principles of the Eastern Varna Marga. The more recent 

manifestation, less than 150 years old, is the latter-day effort to actually 

import the Tantric teachings of the left-hand path from India and Tibet to 

Europe and the New World. Both of these tributaries of the left-hand path's 

westward flow can prove problematic for the pragmatic sinister current sex 


In the case of left-hand path compatible sex magic as practiced in 

Western antiquity, so much of the genuine teachings have been lost or 

misreported through later Christian distortions that it is nearly impossible to 

study the original techniques in an undiluted form. As for the more recent 

introduction of authentic Varna Marga initiation to Europe and America, this 

effort has also been considerably hampered by the quandary of fitting a 

radically sex-positive doctrine like the sinister current into minds shaped by 

the body-denying creed permeating Christian culture. The casual observer 

might be perplexed by this last assertion. Surely, one might speculate, in the 

porno-saturated modern world of the industrialized West, where almost every 

form of sexual expression is openly celebrated, the left-hand path would 

hardly raise an eyebrow? 

It is true, of course, that many modern Westerners are intrigued by 

the idea of Tantra's sexual practices. However, unless the Western adept is 

totally deprogrammed of the mainstream Christian attitude to sexuality, 

progress on the left-hand path is all but impossible. One can lead a life of 

absolute sexual license but still suffer from the Eros-crippling impact of 

Christian conditioning. And to our experience, the Biblical notion of sex as 


sin can infect the Western approach to the body even if an individual has 

never touched a Bible, or consciously considered Christian morality. 

To counter this psychic contagion, many Westerners have taken up 

sex magic merely to demonstrate their break with the pervasive Christian 

anti-sexual conditioning. If sex is "sinful', they will dutifully commit every 

sin in the book. Assuming such a reactionary stance can only be a very 

preliminary step in one's initiation on the left-hand path. Sadly, many 

Western sex magicians remain stuck in this rut, expending so much valuable 

energy fighting the inner demon of Christian sinfulness that they never 

progress into higher states of initiation. 
It could be argued that even Aleister Crowley - the most influential 

Western sex magician of the past century - who spent decades energetically 

reacting to the sexual repressions of his upbringing in an extreme Christian 

sect, never completely deprogrammed himself. Even in his sixties, one gets 

the impression he was still "being a bad boy", doing everything he could to 

outrage his long-dead puritan parents. The Eastern Varna Marga adept 

transgresses the sexual taboos of Hinduism in the beginning phase of 

initiation only to progress to a deified realm of being far beyond any cultural 

boundaries. The transgressions are not an end in themselves; they merely 

mark the bare beginning of the journey of self-creation as an individuated 

being. Likewise, the sinister current magician breaking with Judaeo-Christian 

programming must be careful not to be trapped in a limited reactionary role. 

In the West, the ancient left-hand path principle of Viparit-Karani is evident 

to a degree in the commonly observed practice of inversion that emerges in 

the historical Satanic tradition in such sexual rites as the Black Mass. 

However, once inversion is institutionalized through repetition it can become 

its own stifling orthodoxy, and has little if any transformative power. A 

Black Mass every Friday at midnight is as useless to the radical left-hand 

path process of self -transformation as church every Sunday morning. 

For instance, if a disaffected Christian teenager living in a small 

religious town first wears an inverted crucifix, lie is pushing against the flow 

of local socioreligious convention, making a healthy attempt at selfindividuation. 

In rare cases, the deliberate estrangement from familial and 

religious restrictions might provide enough of a shock to be useful for actual 

initiation. But every shock wears off eventually. If our theoretical Satanic 

rebel wins the approval of his friends for this small defiance, the "evil" 

emblem becomes a status symbol, defeating the purpose of opposite-doing. 

Once that inverted crucifix is reduced to a permanent fixture of self-image, 

then it becomes just another comforting convention to overcome. 

The fatal schism between sex and spirit, Eros and Psyche, has so 

contaminated Western culture that even non-Christian magicians have 

unthinkingly adopted the organized faith's revulsion for the body and for 

sexuality. This can be observed in the surprisingly common condemnation of 


sex magic of any kind by the many Western magicians who display a distinct 

discomfort with orgasmic sorcery. For them, any form of erotic initiation is a 

deviation from the "higher" powers of the mind to the "lower" sexual center. 

At best, they might dismiss the left-hand path as a silly distraction from the 

strictly cerebral concerns they deem to be more meaningful. At worst, they 

might consider sex-magical operations to be a destructive dead-end. 


Despite the universality of the left-hand path, by whatever name, the 

aspiring left-hand path sex magician will discover that one of the advantages 

of first studying the original Eastern model of the Varna Marga is that its 

uniquely tolerant approach to seemingly heretical or dissident ideas has 

allowed the Indian left-hand path to evolve there in an atmosphere of relative 


The same cannot be said for less permissive environments, which 

have consistently persecuted and even murdered those who have been 

suspected of experimenting with erotic self-initiation. Particularly in those 

countries that have fallen to Judaeo-Christianity, Islam, or the many other 

Eros-denying faiths of self-renunciation, sex magic has until recently been 

performed under a noxious cloud of religiously inspired sin and shame. The 

sex-obsessed hysteria of the virulent witch-burning epidemic which scarred 

Europe for centuries is only the most dramatic episode in the West's attempt 

to exorcise the demons of the flesh. The few written records of Western sexmagical 

experiment that exist before the twentieth century reflect the sexually 

ambivalent cultural atmosphere in which they were written. 

As we shall see, this has lent a stunted, fugitive quality to Western 

erotic metaphysics that is quite unknown to the Eastern acceptance of the 
left-hand path's place as a legitimate - if subversive - method of spiritual 

development. One need only consider the case of Aleister Crowley, to 

perceive the difficulties of erotic initiation in a sex-negative religious and 

social climate. There's no doubt that Crowley's often melancholy struggle 

with his sexual demons broke barriers freeing contemporary sex magicians 

from many an inhibition. And yet, how ultimately joyless and reactionary his 

"sex magick" seems in comparison to the liberatory aims of the Eastern lefthand 

path. To be sure, the relative freeing of human erotic potential since the 

so-called sexual revolution allows contemporary sex magicians a much more 

conducive climate for left-hand path initiation than the one with which 

Crowley was forced to contend. But even now, a residual sense of sin and 

guilt clings to many a Western magician's pursuit of awakening through Eros, 

a hangover from the oppressive demonization of carnal pleasure that so 

characterized the Christian era. 

As the Western world haltingly awakens from the long nightmare of 

exoteric Judaeo-Christianity and its stifling influence on Eros, Western 

magicians can find a model of erotic initiation in the Tantric Varna Marga 

that is refreshingly free of the anti-sexual hysteria and moral overtones of 

good and evil that haunt Occidental sex-magic models. Even outside of 

Tantra, the Indian approach to deity -just as the pre-Christian West of 

antiquity once did - exalts a pantheon of gods and goddesses who act on their 

libidinous desires. This sublime erotic understanding of the divine naturally 

leads to the thought in left-handed praxis that human self -initiation to deified 


levels of consciousness does not only occur from the neck up. Phallus and 

vulva are accepted as important - indeed essential - aspects of one's total 

initiation. In the Christian West, the only religious role models to have been 

accorded the dignity of an active sex life are the Devil and His demonic 

accomplices. Thus, the nascent left-hand path in the West, such as it is, has 

largely been stuck in the rather limited rut of Satanic imagery to the 

exclusion of any deeper models of initiation. 

Although the Indian left-hand path has its own limitations - its 

sometimes paradoxically narrow view of the female initiate being the most 

galling of these - the Varna Marga allows the initiate a much wider scope in 

which to develop. By way of contrast to Western sex-magical practices 

turning back to ancient methods, the Tantric left-hand path can still be 

studied as a fairly organic, dynamic whole operating today, not simply the 

nostalgic recreation of a long-vanished past. Authentic teachers of the Indian 

left-hand path are still transmitting the methods of the sinister way as their 

predecessors have for centuries, in an unbroken chain of tradition. Their 

lessons can be melded to the needs of modern Western sex magicians, 

evolving an ancient legacy in new and unexpected directions while retaining 

the undimmed power that only a truly vital tradition can provide. 

To accomplish such a synthesis, and to make the case for a Western 

form of the left-hand path, it also becomes obvious that there really isn't 

anything very "Western" about it. The most influential strains of sexual 

magic that have developed in the Western world - when they are not directly 

derived from Indian Tantra - are actually drawn from a variety of Middle 

Eastern sources. With the exception of European witchery - which may or 

not represent a genuine survival of a pre-Christian sinister current - such 

ostensibly Western sex-magical themes as Gnostic libertinism, the Templar 

heresy and its god/dess Baphomet, the cult of Babalon, the Grail quest, and 

hermetic alchemy are not native to Europe at all. 

Due to its ubiquity and adaptation into local forms, it is also easily 

forgotten that the dominant spiritual tradition in the West - Christianity - is 

yet another Eastern cult, utterly alien to the native European religious 
impulse. But is the sex-hating exoteric Christianity that has so twisted the 

Western psyche truly representative of the original teachings of Christ? 
Centuries of ecclesiastical fulmination against the demons of the flesh would 
cause one to assume that nothing could be more contrary to Christianity than 

left-hand path sex magic. And yet it has long been noted that organized 

Christianity, for all of its outward mortification of the flesh, betrays a deep if 

severely sublimated undercurrent of erotic mysticism. Think of St. Teresa of 

Avila's orgasmic-ecstatic visions, in which she experienced the presence of 

Jesus penetrating her "like a lance driven into the heart." The commonly used 

Christian image of Christ as the bridegroom and the believer as the 


passionately expectant bride bears unmistakable sex-magical connotations. 

During the delirious heyday of Church-sanctioned flagellation, St. Augustine 

was obliged to warn the faithful not to whip themselves with too much 
devotion, lest their agony take on ecstatic overtones. The sexual symbolism 
of the Eucharist, with its ritual consumption of the flesh and blood of Christ 

is obvious. 

The branches of Christianity we know today in the West, it must be 

stressed, represent only the victorious factions of a diverse religion that once 

expressed itself in a dizzying variety of forms. Those other Christianities, 

many of them inclusive of Eros and magic in their practices, were almost 

thoroughly eradicated as "heresies" by the stronger Catholic Church and the 

Eastern Orthodox Church. That violent purge is what has left us with the 
resolutely anti-erotic brand of faith still operating today, a creed, shaped far 

more by the anti-sexual psychoses of such fiercely ascetic. Church fathers 

as St. Paul and St. Jerome as anything implicitly stated in the Gospels. 

Accompanying this relatively late-developing loathing of sexuality was a 

rabid misogyny, a condemnation of woman as the author of original sin, the 

diabolic temptress who led man astray in the garden of Eden. This hatred of 

womankind is well represented by the snarl of Tertullian asserting that 

woman is "a temple built on a sewer." 

But any religion so dedicated to the demonization of Eros and the 

Feminine Daemonic is doomed to create an unintended counter-reaction 

within its ranks. The constant Christian preaching against physical sin only 

makes the forbidden fruit of sexual pleasure seem all the more appetizing. 

But these traces of sacred sexuality that still pop up in Christianity like the 

Bishop's embarrassing erection at High Mass may actually be rooted in a 

long-lost erotomagical tradition hidden within Christianity itself. 

This tradition, referred to alternately as libertine Gnosticism, 

hedonistic Gnosticism or Spermo-Gnosticism, has unquestionably been the 

most significant influence on the development of a sinister current in 

Western sex magic. The importance of a long-suppressed early Christian 

sex-magical teaching may be surprising for those readers who might 

imagine that the occidental left-hand path is best exemplified by the 

confused cluster of half-understood ideas known as "Satanism." Central to 

the forgotten practice of carnal initiation concealed beneath centuries of 

Church-fostered abrogation of Eros are the ancient magical archetypes of 

the Magus and the Whore. 

Christ And Mary Magdalene 

The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee. - Luke 1:35 

To begin the process of dismantling the West's psychic chastity belt, let us 

consider the distinct possibility that Jesus Christ, the Western world's 

primary archetype of moral righteousness and sanctified celibacy, was in 

fact the very model of a left-hand path sex magician. We began our survey 

of the Eastern left-hand path with the Tantric parable of the Fucking 
Buddha. No understanding of the Western left-hand path can be integrated 

without encountering the copulating Christ. 
Intrinsic to the left-hand path is the understanding that the adept 

reaches his highest level of initiation through the power of a female consort, 

his duti or messenger between the physical body and the divine force of the 

Feminine Daemonic in its many forms. We have already mentioned that a 

common feature of the myth of the magus in almost every culture is his 

association with just such an initiatrix. Leaving aside the complex issue of 

whether the magician Jesus Christ (not a personal name but Greek for 

"Annointed Saviour") actually existed as one single historical personage, we 
can easily identify the woman in his myth who was the esoteric source of his 


Mary of Magdalene, according to Church tradition, is the 

embodiment of the fallen woman, the woman of sin. She is the archetypal 

whore, portrayed in centuries of religious art, many Hollywood-kitsch Bible 

epics, and at least one popular musical as a beautiful prostitute who leaves 

her debased life behind to follow the abstentious teachings of her Master. In 

this popular image, the all-suffering virtue she demonstrates as one of the 

first Christians stands in stark polarity to her previous existence as the most 

lascivious of creatures. We are to understand that the Magdalene's calling to 

harlotry was not dictated by financial need alone but was the result of her 

unquenchable desire. In this respect, she served to illustrate the commonly 

asserted Christian view that all women were driven by a consuming 

nymphomaniacal frenzy, an infernal temptation perpetually drawing men 

away from purity. William Caxton's The Golden Legend or The Lives Of The 

Saints is fairly typical of writings about Mary Magdalene, telling us that 

"she shone in beauty greatly, and in riches, so much the more she submitted 

her body to delight, and therefore she lost her right name, and was called 

customarily a sinner." 

But from a left-hand path perspective, the Magdalene can also be 

understood as an incarnation of that formidable avatar of shakti power, the 

sacred courtesan, she whose erotic energy is so highly prized by the adept of 

the Varna Marga. 

The Bible itself, characteristically, offers only a few sparse details 

about Mary. These vague mentions have been embellished by Catholic 

theologians into a full-blown narrative, just as other famous Bible characters, 

including Satan, have been granted stories in later Church tradition that are 

far more extensive than anything actually located in the scriptural texts 

themselves. But the Church legend woven around Mary Magdalene is quite 

interesting, not least since it grants this mysterious feminine figure such an 

important role in the drama of Jesus' initiation. 

She is commonly understood to be the nameless woman who washes 

Christ's feet with holy oil, thus making Mary Magdalene the anointer of 

Jesus," [who] has anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with 

her hair." Through this ritual anointing, the magician's self -deified status is 

actualized by the Feminine Daemonic, as personified in human form by a 

disreputable prostitute, a living symbol of sexual energy without bounds. 

Within the Hellenic magical tradition of Christ's time, there was a longstanding 

practice of the magician anointing himself with oils as a phase in his 

transformation from human to divine consciousness. The "woman of the city, 

a sinner" who Jesus defends from a stone-throwing mob, in heretical 


contradiction to tribal law, is also commonly identified as Mary Magdalene. 

The Bible also refers to "Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven evil 

spirits had gone out." 

Just as Mary Magdalene's anointing of Jesus indicates that she is the 

first to accept that he truly is "the son of [a] god" (a common claim made by 

the magi of the time), she is also granted a pivotal place in all of the 

important phases of the magician Christ's ascension from man to deity. Her 

presence at the turning points in the myth of Jesus support the theory that she 

is his hidden initiatrix, the female power who grants him his magical 

abilities. Mary Magdalene stands below the cross when he endures initiatory 

death; it is she who goes to his tomb to perform the rite of anointing the 

corpse, and she is also the first disciple to discover that his body has 

vanished. Finally, of all his disciples, Christ chooses to reveal his 

resurrection to her. If we read this tale as the fragmentary remnant of a 

carefully conceived initiatory myth encoded with magical symbolism - rather 

than as a historical chronicle of "true" events - Mary Magdalene's prominent 

position in the allegory becomes clear. 

If the well-established, sanitized icon of Christ as glorified goodytwo 

shoes and holy wimp can temporarily be blotted out, a more realistic 

image of Jesus the left-hand path heretic may emerge. Viewed from this 

perspective, Christ clearly manifests every one of the essential principles of 

the left-hand path as enumerated in the first chapter of this book. 

Even the Bible, carefully edited to present a respectable image of 

Christ, cannot fail to communicate something of his sinister side. Here was a 

magician who scandalized tribal elders by violently repudiating all the laws 

of orthodoxy and declaring himself a god. He teaches his followers that "the 

kingdom of heaven is within you", and consorts with outcast elements of 

society. He claims to be self-deified and instructs his students that they can 

also become as gods - much like the Tantric bodhisattva. 

Although much is now made of Christ's message of love, he also 

displays a great deal of divisive and antagonistic behavior, stirring up 

trouble in true left-hand path fashion. The harsh tone of the left-hand path 

warrior, the force of creative conflict, rings out when he warns "think not 

that I am come to send peace upon the earth: I came not to send peace but a 

sword. For 1 am come to set a man at variance against his father." Within the 

rigid family-based society of his time, such iconoclasm can be compared to 

the Indian left-hand path adept's breaking of caste and Hindu taboo. 

John Whiteside Parsons, a twentieth century sex magician who can 

be counted among the few pioneers of a genuine Western left-hand path, 

recognized in Jesus a "dangerous" kindred spirit. In his 1950 essay Freedom 

Is A Two-Edged Sword, Parsons wrote of Christ: "He denied the church, 

preaching the personal and interior nature of the kingdom of heaven. He 


denied the authority of the state and the home, preaching the higher 

allegiance to individual conscience. Had his philosophy succeeded, it would 

have overthrown the Jewish religion and the Roman state. To circumvent 

him, it was first necessary to kill him ... and afterwards to subvert his 

teachings into another do-as-you-are-told soothing syrup." 

Jesus is associated in the Biblical Gospels with several deities that 

would have been viewed as "evil" by the Judaic religion he opposes, further 

ostracizing him from the clan in the classic left-hand path tradition. Indeed, 

the religious authorities specifically charge him with effecting his 

thaumaturgy with the demonic aid of Beelzebub, a demonized form of the 

Canaanite storm god Baal, often compared to the Egyptian Set. Christ begins 

the final phase of his initiatory journey entering Jerusalem mounted on a 

stolen jackass, a notoriously stubborn beast commonly interpreted as the 

therionthropic symbol of the malevolent deity Seth-Typhon. Seth-Typhon, a 

latter-day Hellenic derivation of Egypt's Set, was frequently appealed to by 

the magi of the time in their rituals. Many surviving magical papyri reveal 

that Seth-Typhon was equated with the Semitic storm god IAO, or Yahweh, 

whom Christ is said to have claimed as his "father". Fully in keeping with 

the magical practice of his era, Jesus speaks mysterious "mantras" to effect 

feats of sorcery. And he maintains a very special - if vaguely defined - 

relationship with a woman condemned as a "sinner". 

Affirming the importance of Mary Magdalene's prostitution to the 

Christ myth, contemporary accounts of Jesus, far from suggesting that he 

was the copulation-free product of immaculate conception, frequently 

described him as the bastard son of a whore who had. been impregnated by a 

soldier in the Roman Army occupying Judea. Of course, this story of 

Christ's origins may well have been an alternate myth that was excised by 

the puritanical editors of the authorized Bible we know today. There is an 

undeniable mythic resonance in the idea of a powerful magus being born 

from the union of a warrior (extreme male energy) and a whore (extreme 

female energy) - the age-old conjunction of the opposing Mars and Venus, 

by whatever names. On a more prosaic level, the whores and soldiers of 

occupied countries have been procreating out of wedlock since time 

immemorial, so it's conceivable that this legend of Christ's parentage is 

nothing more than a mundane biographical fact. At any rate, the symbol of 

the holy whore had played a significant role in Middle Eastern magical 

culture long before Christ's time, as we shall see, which does much to 

explain why having a harlot for a mother and as a companion would serve as 

impressive "credentials" for any would-be magician of the era. 

In regards to the later authorized myth of the Virgin Mary, it must be 

remembered that the word "virgin" in antiquity did not necessarily specify, as 

it does by contemporary standards, that the woman in question had never 

experienced sexual intercourse. A virgin was simply an unmarried woman, a 
definition which resolves the seeming contradiction between the conflicting 

legends of Christ's mother as whore and the more widely accepted later 

picture of Mother Mary. One of the many goddesses who are called virgin, 

but who are at the same time sexually promiscuous, include Ishtar, portrayed 

simultaneously as girlish maiden and Whore of Babylon, patroness of harlots. 

Finally, utterly isolated from the conventions and norms of his 

culture, the magician Jesus was condemned to he executed as a common 

criminal, although he had attained a state of initiation allowing his 

imperishable psyche to survive physical death. It is unlikely that the 

crucifixion/death of the magus and his miraculous resurrection are to be 

interpreted as historical events in time. More likely, the narrative is a 

symbolic metaphor for a magician's willed initiatory "death" and 

transformation from one state of being to another. An interesting artistic 

tradition persists that depicts Christ laughing during his ordeal on the cross, 

the threshold between mortal life and godhood. Like many transgressive 

magical deities of ancient times, Christ has also occasionally been depicted in 

his final agony with an erection, a sign of magical potency. 

Contemporary accounts of Jesus describe him as one of many 

wonder-workers and magicians operating at the time, and he was commonly 

believed to have learned the magical art in Egypt, where he was said to have 

commanded "the names of an angel of power", alternately described by Bidez 

and Cumont in their Les mages hellenises (The Hellenic Mages) as "demons 

of a higher order." Christ's journey to Egypt, the land of magic, was taken as 

evidence of the sinister, occult source of his powers by his Rabbinical and 

Roman enemies. According to Morton Smith's Jesus The Magician, Christ's 

opponents also claimed that magical symbols were tattooed on his body in 

Egypt, a typically left-hand path breaking of taboo, in this case the Judaic 

restriction on marking the body. 

Clearly, Christ does not perform his magical deeds by commanding 

external entities to do his bidding, or by performing convoluted rituals. He 

has fully activated a magical current within him, thus becoming a daimon in 

his own right. This internal power, known as dynamis in the Greek magical 

tradition, is similar to the self-sufficient energy stream of kundalini-shakti the 

left-hand path magician awakens in his/her body at the highest level of divya 

initiation. That the organized religion later built around the figure of this 

mysterious magician is so often adverse to magic of any kind is one of 

history's most absurd ironies. 

Of course, despite the intriguing sinister aspects apparent in the 

Biblical Christ, the Holy Book cannot be said to indicate in him the most 

defining factor of left-hand path initiation - the celebration of sexual magic. 

For this, other sources are more illuminating. Roman and Jewish opponents 

of the early Christian sect, for example, routinely characterized the disciples 

of Jesus as practitioners of a love cult whose rites included feasts that 
culminated in sexual promiscuity. Christ's teaching of unconditional Agape 

(Greek for "love"), was often presumed to include a mystical 
transubstantiation of sex not dissimilar from that practiced in Tantric group 

rituals. The tradition of the agape feast, originally a crucial element of 
Christian practice, was finally outlawed by the Church itself in the seventh 
century, when reports of orgiastic ritual being held in churches became 
commonplace throughout Christendom. By that time, all traces of any 
remaining sex-magical component in Christianity had been thoroughly 


The original talisman of early Christianity was the Ichthys, a stylized 

fish, well known as a symbol of the erect phallus in Middle Eastern and 

Mediterranean cultures. The faithful, interpreting the gospel as history, 

assume that the current Christian talisman, the cross, is merely a reference to 

the crucifixion. But the intersecting lines of the cross also form an ancient 

symbol for the sexual union of man and woman, the physical gateway of 


A spontaneous eruption of Agape, the suppressed spirit of original 

Christianity, resurfaced in a bastardized form in the 1960s, among a popular 

youth subculture of disaffected disciples known as "Jesus Freaks." Some 

Jesus Freaks attempted to disturb their conservative parents by emulating the 

reviled establishment's central religious icon, Jesus, as a role model of antisocial 

rebellion. In so doing, they adopted the communal living, celebration 

of free love, indiscriminate sexuality, and combative attitudes towards tribal 

elders that characterized the less acceptable side of the Christ mythos. In a 

sense, one could postulate that this was a very naive expression of a Christian 

left-hand path in practice. 

Going several steps further in this direction in the same lime period 

was Charles Manson, known to many in his prime as "the Wizard". Leaving 

aside entirely the sensational crimes of which he has been accused, Manson 

illustrates how the hidden left-hand path aspects of the Christ archetype can 

take hold of those who identify themselves utterly with it. Upon being 

released from a long prison sentence, Manson presented himself to a small 

contingent of alienated youths as the Second Coming of Jesus (and the 

Devil), orchestrated taboo-breaking orgies to break the bonds of his middleclass 

adherents to norms of possessiveness and jealousy, and adopted the 

mystical revolutionary rhetoric of Christ's statement to "think not that I am 

come to send peace upon the earth: I came not to send peace but a sword.." 

The fact that Manson was also - in accordance with at least one 

version of the Christ legend - the bastard son of a reputedly loose woman 

was surely not lost on him. Manson's duality -transcendent claim that Christ 

and Satan were one is a typically left-hand path conjunction of opposites, and 


unconsciously reflects some Gnostic teachings, as does his frequently stated 

observation that he has a woman inside of him. However, Manson's self deification 

of himself as a reborn Christ, which went so far as recreating 

Mary Magdalene's anointing of her Master's feet with his disciple Susan 

Atkins taking the role of Mary, cannot truly be considered a left-hand path 

phenomenon. Manson's well-documented misogyny alone makes it clear that 

his "ministry" lacked the exaltation of the Feminine Daemonic that the 

sinister current is based on. 
Sophia And The Serpent 

It might be said that the accusations leveled at the early Christians concerning 

their sexual practices can be dismissed as nothing more than the usual 

vilification suffered by any unpopular minority religion. However, 

archaeological evidence unearthed in the past century seems to confirm that 

Christ's original teachings may well have centered on a form of secret sexual 

initiation. And just as Mary Magdalene serves as Christ's shady guardian 

angel in the authorized Catholic version of the myth, she is also an important 

figure in the more complete picture of early Christian sex magic now 


Clues as to the actual nature of Mary Magdalene - and the long 

hidden esoteric roots of Christianity - surfaced as long ago as 1896, when a 

German Egyptologist discovered a previously unknown early Christian text 

entitled The Gospel Of Mary. That a Gospel would be attributed to this 

notorious fallen woman was a startling indication that later Church fathers 

had deliberately obscured the presence of a Feminine Daemonic in early 

Christian teaching. In 1945, this picture became even clearer when local 

residents of Nag Hammadi, Egypt stumbled upon a hidden trove of ancient 

apocryphal documents preserved in a desolate cave. Dubbed the Gnostic 

Gospels and the Nag Hammadi Library, these were clearly scriptural 

chapters that never made it into the sanctioned Bible. 

No wonder, since they presented an unexpected picture of the early 

Christians completely at odds with the previously accepted notion of an antifemale, 

anti-sex, male-dominated community of believers. The texts 

supported the Gospel Of Mary's evidence that Christ's original disciples 

were actually initiates of a Gnostic mystery cult. Not the least of the shocks 

revealed in the Gnostic Gospels was the role of Mary Magdalene as an 

important teacher in her own right within this initiated circle. This function 

fills in the details missing in the later depiction of Mary as a mysteriously 

omnipresent - but not especially wise - passive witness and adjunct to her 

Master's magical deeds. 

The Mary Magdalene of the Gnostic Gospels is never referred to as 

a prostitute. It becomes obvious that this was a much later accretion added to 


her myth, perhaps in an attempt to minimize her original importance. But it 

is probable that her later image as archetypal whore is a confused echo of a 

strong erotic component in her being, an element we will explore in some 

depth. A mythic figure as potent as long-lived and potent as Mary 

Magdalene is bound to be transformed through the centuries; the magician 

attempts to view all the many levels that form the whole. 

The Gnostic texts repeatedly state that Mary of Magdalene grasps 

some core mystery of Christ's teaching better than any of his male disciples. 

She is referred to as "the woman who understood completely" and "the 

anointer" - Jesus praises her as the disciple who most deeply comprehends 

his instruction. Indeed, it seems that the female initiates in Christ's circle all 

possess some secret knowledge that the males are lacking. Mary is only the 

foremost of seven female disciples who are said to be "strong by a 

perception which is in them," an advanced state of consciousness that the 

twelve male disciples readily acknowledge, although not without envy. Of 

course, these seven wise females were deleted from the final edition of the 

Bible, and Mary Magdalene's own minimal presence in the approved 
scriptures is but a pale reflection of her prominence in the Gnostic Gospels. 

It has been speculated that the seven females may connote the seven 
planets of ancient astronomy, and that the twelve males represent the twelve 
zodiacal signs. If so, this tics into the concept of Christ as Hellenized magus; 

such star lore played an important part in the magic of that time. The 
Biblical story of Mary Magdalene being possessed by seven demons is also 
evident in the Gnostic Gospels - this may well be another veiled use of the 
number seven; the number was often associated with female erotic magical 


Within the specifically Gnostic context of these texts, Mary's 

enhanced knowledge is not to be understood as the ignorant blind faith held 

so dear in the later distortions of Christianity into a cult for the masses. 

Rather, we are led to understand that she has experienced an initiatory 

Gnosis, a transcendent perception of reality, akin to the left-hand path state 

of Bodhana (awakening). For some of the Gnostic sects, such illumination 

was presumed to be due to the awakening of a divine wisdom or knowledge 

locked within every human body, a feminine divinity known as Sophia. This 

resembles the Buddhist left-hand path's custom of referring to the female 

sexual consort as the vidya - the bringer of knowledge. 

One of the early apocryphal scriptures relating a conversation 

between Christ and Mary Magdalene is entitled Pistis Sophia. This is only 

one of many confirmations that the original Christian magical cult was not 

dedicated to the monotheistic worship of a monolithic male deity. It actually 

granted especial reverence to the left-handed powers of a female divinity. To 

understand the magnitude of the Feminine Daemonic in general and Mary 

Magdalene in particular to the early Christian Gnostic community, we need 


only consider the titles of some of their lost Gospels: The Gospel Of Eve, 

Noria, Birth Of Mary, Great And Little Questions Of Mary, Pistis Sophia IV. 

Contrast these female-centered Gospels with the official Gospels 

anthologized in the Bible - all of them ostensibly authored by men - and the 

full extent of the later Christian expurgation of the feminine becomes clear. 

While the Church's transformation of Mary Magdalene from a teacher 

commanding center stage to a subservient prostitute on the sidelines is 

startling enough, the excommunication of the goddess Sophia from later 

Christianity was even more decisive in recreating Christianity as a puritan, 

anti-female sect. 

The adept's awakening of Sophia in the flesh can also be paralleled 

with the Tantric left-hand path arousal of the hidden Goddess Kundalini, 

whose full activation also bestows suprahuman wisdom. The Gnostic's 

passionate adoration of Sophia was known as philosophia - the love of 

Sophia - a mystical communication with a divine female intelligence having 

little to do with the strictly intellectual pursuit currently labeled 

"philosophy." As we have noted earlier, there is a further connection 

between Sophia and the serpentine Kundalini as sinister current 

manifestations of the Feminine Daemonic. In the teaching of some Gnostic 

Christian sects, Sophia first appeared to the primordial female Eve in the 

Garden of Eden as a female serpent instructing humanity in forbidden 

knowledge - especially carnal knowledge. 

It's unlikely that modern Christians will enthusiastically embrace 

the notion that Jesus and his original followers worshipped the being now 

despised under the name of "Satan" as a benevolent female snake-deity, 

while vilifying the being they currently know as "God" as a malignant 

demiurge. Many Christian scholars commenting on the Nag Hammadi 

Library have also done their best to studiously ignore or evade the sexmagical 

implications to be found in these controversial texts. 

The Sacrament Of The Bridal Chamber 

Specifically, what was the secret knowledge that made Mary Magdalene 

"the woman who understood completely"? Assuming that these texts, like 

the Tantras and so many other ancient initiatory writings, do not 

communicate directly but in simile and coded language, there must be a 

reason why Mary is so consistently singled out in this manner. In part, this 

knowledge seems to have been communicated to Mary due to her especially 

privileged place among the disciples, a unique closeness to the magus Jesus 

that the other disciples frequently allude to in several passages. 

In one Gnostic Gospel, set in a time after the death of Jesus, Christ's 

student Levi declares to Peter that, "He loved her more than us." 
Peter, addressing Mary in the Gospel Of Mary asserts: "Sister, we 


know that the Saviour loved you more than the rest of women." 

And in the Gospel Of Philip, Mary Magdalene is dubbed the 

"companion of the Saviour." 

Only Mary, among all the disciples, is ever called Christ's 

"companion", a fact that has perplexed many scholars of these texts, creating 

decades of debate on the precise inference. This dispute has been sparked 
because the particular Greek word for "companion" used by the anonymous 

author of the Gospel Of Philip was commonly used to describe a male's 

adulterous sexual partner. Adultery, in the ancient world, consisted of any 

sexual relationship outside of wedlock; this original Gnostic notion of Mary 

as Christ's adulterous "companion" might have given way to the much later 

idea of her as an adulterous prostitute. 

Interpreters eager to steer clear of the possibility of a sexually active 

Christ have argued that surely Mary was strictly his spiritual companion, 

perhaps a poetic metaphor for the Gnostic union of the initiate with the 

divine female wisdom, Sophia. This is possible, but as we've observed in so 

many left-hand path Tantric texts, the metaphor of the metaphysical union of 

spiritual opposites is frequently combined with the physical union of male 

and female in sexual rites. Just as dead Shiva, the embodiment of 

consciousness, gains his power from copulation with the active Shakti, so 

may the early Christians have seen Mary Magdalene "the companion of the 

saviour" as the animating female power of the dead, but resurrected, Christ. 

Another famously controversial fragment of a quotation in the 

Gnostic Gospels concerning Mary's relations with Christ tells us a bit more 

about the nature of their companionship: "The saviour loved her more than 

all the disciples and used to kiss her often on her mouth." 

It is true that among early Christians there existed a ritual kiss 

intended to confer spiritual power from one initiate to another, which may 

be what is being described here. On the other hand, "kissing" was a 

frequently used euphemism for copulation in other texts of that time, just as 

"mouth" was a common euphemism for vagina in the religious writings of 


These evocative textual allusions that Mary Magdalene may indeed 

have been the sex-magical consort of Christ are given further weight by the 

historical existence of a Gnostic Christian tradition of sexual ritual. Gnostic 

Christians generally encouraged initiates to abstain from sex because it 

could lead to the creation of unwanted physical matter in the form of 

children. They believed that laldobaoth, a malevolent god thought to have 

created the dark world of matter, kept potentially immortal souls imprisoned 

through sexual breeding and its perpetuation of human bodies. Ialdabaoth, 

the Gnostic "devil", is the same divinity now worshipped as the one, true 

God by Christians. Gnostics sought to liberate these trapped souls through 


the gnosis of Sophia, a liberation with more than a passing resemblance to 

the later left-hand path adept's liberation from the cycle of reincarnation 

through the jnana (knowledge) of the Great Goddess, Shakti. 

The Gnostic Christian's abhorrence of matter is obviously a very 

different approach to the body than we have seen in the Indian Varna Marga, 

which unreservedly embraces the physical world as a gateway to initiation. 

However, despite this significant philosophical discrepancy, the actual 
physical practice of Gnostic Christian sex magic is very similar to what we 

have already examined in the left-hand path. If the magician Christ's 
teaching condemned procreation, like other Gnostic sects, it seems that it did 

not forbid sex for spiritual purposes. 
Just as the Indian Varna Marga would later allow special sexual 

circumstances for a chosen elite of initiates thought capable to exercise 

discipline, some branches of Gnostic Christianity did allow for advanced. 

adepts to perform sexual rites. The best known of these was the Sacrament 

of the Bridal Chamber, an operation of erotic mysticism in which the 

ecstatic love of Sophia was enjoyed within the physical vehicles of a 

couple's sexually united bodies. However, impregnation had to be avoided at 

all costs, lest more unwary souls be trapped in the flesh. This very often led 

the Gnostic couple to perform coitus interruptus, as well as anal or oral sex, 

to prevent semen from being ejaculated into the vagina. (A much later 

Gnostic sect, the Bogomils, operating in Eastern Europe, were particularly 

associated with anal intercourse - the word "buggery" is a distorted form of 

"Bogomil.") How ironic then that Christians today should base their identity 

so firmly in the spawning of families and the condemnation of "unnatural" 

sex practices - the polar opposite of the original Gnostic strain of 


Such non-procreative practices led the later ascetic branches of 

Christianity to condemn the libertine Gnostic sects as perverse debauchees, 

sexual criminals who broke the natural law decreeing that sexual energy 

should only be applied to the edict commanding men and women to "be 

fruitful and multiply" Whenever we find erotic power channeled from the 

natural, mortal world into the daemonic, immortal plane of being, we are 

dealing with the sinister current. The eminent Gnostic scholar Elaine Pagels, 

describing the Sacrament of the Bridal Chamber in her essay "Adam and 

Eve, Christ and the Church; A Survey of Second Century Controversies 

Concerning Marriage" writes that those "who have experienced the 'mystery 

of the syzygies' are enjoined to enact marital intercourse in ways that 
express their spiritual, psychic and bodily integration, celebrating the act as 
a symbol of the divine pleromic harmony. But those who remain uninitiated 

are to refrain from sexual intercourse." 
If Pagels is correct, Gnostic Christianity may well have experienced 


an eventual schism between a small, initiated core that practiced sexual rites 

for self-deification and a larger, uninitiated mainstream that were celibate 

and ascetic - the left-hand path and right-hand of Christianity. Obviously, 

right-hand path Christianity has flourished in the form of the sin-obsessed 

exoteric face of the religion. The esoteric sinister current of Christ's teaching 

must be actively searched for by initiates, possibly resurfacing historically 

now and again in such streams as the Templar heresy and the Grail Quest. 

In their desire to avoid ejaculation and its consequences, it appears 

that Gnostic Christian sex magicians also developed semen retention 

techniques. Just as Indian left-hand path adepts refer to the reversal of semen 

to the magical act of "causing the sacred river Ganges to flow backwards", 

Middle Eastern Gnostics cryptically described the science of "reversing the 

mighty river Jordan." (The Jordan, like the Ganges, was regarded as a holy 

body of water.) 

This practice bears some resemblance to the later Tantric methods, 

although the motivation was quite different. Nevertheless, it can be 

presumed that the physiological result of such exertions must have created 

the same ecstatic altered states of consciousness that left-hand path Tantrikas 

experience through extended, non-ejaculatory full-body orgasm. Whatever 

the outward form of the religious/cultural motivation for these sexual 
modifications, the result - a prolonged state of neurophysical bliss allowing 

for transcendent awareness - is simply an inbuilt biological phenomenon 

evident in all time periods. Another left-hand path phenomenon at work here 

is the disruption of the normal, natural flow of vital erotic energy outwards 

from the penis, where it is dissipated in transient organic processes. By 

deliberately willing this creative energy upwards towards the brain, sexual 

power becomes a tool of "supernatural" self-transformation rather than 

earth-bound physical reproduction. 

The female sexual partner in the Sacrament of the Bridal Chamber 

was considered the living embodiment of the divine Sophia. Illustrating the 

universal nature of the sinister current as it manifests in different times and 

places is the fact that Sophia, understood as the male Gnostic's inner alter ego 

made flesh was known as "She of the Left Hand", a lunar force. This 

overwhelming female power incarnate in a human female is practically 

identical to the Tantric left-hand path's shakti. Among the Gnostic Christian 

sect known as the Ophites (Ophis is Greek for snake), who revered the 

Garden of Eden's serpent as an incarnation of She of the Left Hand, Sophia 

and Christ were thought to be divine siblings. The left-flowing power Sophia 

and the right-flowing power Christ were said to be the daughter and son of a 

feminine Holy Ghost whose incestuous sexual coupling created a bipolar 

erotic energy that descended into the human magus known as Jesus during 

his baptism. Thus, Ophites attempted to recreate this physical integration of 


the opposite sexual forces within themselves as way to self-deification. The 

resemblance to the Indian left-hand concept of the coupling of Shiva and 

Shakti being activated in the adept's body is obvious. 

It should be remembered that just as the left-hand path siddha of 

India is practicing a heresy against orthodox Hinduism, Christ and his 

disciples were heretics against Judaism. Tantra is heavily influenced by the 

Hinduism it broke away from, and Gnostic Christianity is stamped with older 

Hebraic concepts rejected by orthodoxy. Sophia, She of the Left Hand, can 

be traced to a much older Hebrew female divinity, the Shekhinah, whose 

worship dates back to the time before the adoption of a monotheistic male 

creator god. One of the meanings of Shakti is the "wife of the god", and 

Shekhinah is often translated as "secret wife of the king" - in both beings, we 

are dealing with a Feminine Daemonic source of sacral kingship and 

authority flowing sexually from female to male. Both the early Hebraic 

Shekhinah and the Gnostic Sophia were described as descending into the 

human body, "the Temple of the Holy Ghost", sometimes in the form of a 

dove - the masculine Holy Ghost of orthodox Christianity's Trinity is but 

Shekhinah/Sophia given a sex change. 

The male principle, the Shiva force, in Gnosticism, analogous to the 

Logos of Christ to whom the Sophia was coupled, was referred to as "He of 

the Right Hand" and was understood to be both the "sun" and the "son of a 

god". Exactly as in Tantra, the Gnostic sexual yoking of the lunar, female 

Left Hand to the solar, male Right Hand was a wedding of opposites that 

created the inner androgyne. In the Gnostic Gospels, the dialogue of Mary 

Magdalene with her fellow disciples includes several references to this 

creation of a spiritual androgyny, although the exact process to be used to 

reach this state is left unclear. We read that gnosis can "[make] a woman 

male", and that the seven female disciples are capable of "becoming male." 

This initiatory transformation bears similarities to the left-handed Buddhist 

idea that "a woman can become a Buddha." The Gospel Of Philip suggests 

that at some advanced level of consciousness female becomes male and viceversa. 

The Gospel Of Thomas also states that "unless a man became a 

woman, and a woman, man, thou canst not enter the Kingdom of Heaven". 

The Kingdom of Heaven, as understood in esoteric Gnosticism, has nothing 

to do with the popular Christian fantasy of harp-strumming angels and pearly 

gates - it is clearly a state of being that the gnosis conferred by the union of 

Sophia and the Logos. 

"Eat My Flesh And Drink My Blood" 

In one of the apocryphal Gospels, Mary Magdalene asks Christ: "We have 

heard that there are some upon the earth who take male sperm and female 

menstrual blood and make a dish of lentils and eat it, saying 'We believe in 


Esau and Jacob. Is this a seemly thing or not?"' Jesus is unequivocal in his 

condemnation of the practice: "This sin surpasses every sin and every 

iniquity. Men of this kind will be taken immediately to the outer darkness, 

and will not be returned again into this sphere." 

And yet, despite this harsh pronouncement, other sources from 

roughly the same time period indicate that some early Christians identified 

Jesus and Mary Magdalene with exactly this specific "sinful" practice. In 

The Woman Jesus Loved, the Finnish scholar Antti Marjanen even suggests 

that the severity of the above passage may have been written with the public 

relations motive of disassociating Christ's original disciples from the sexmagical 

practices their opponents frequently accused them of teaching. 

Another early Christian text comments convincingly on the 

existence of a Christian sex magic tradition imbued with striking parallels to 

left-hand path use of sperm and menstrual blood. The Panarion, written by 

Epiphanius, documents what he defines as "libertine sects" centered around 

the erotic interaction of Christ and Mary Magdalene. Epiphanius notes 
apprehensively that the female principle plays an particularly crucial role in 

the Gnostic circles his polemic is aimed against, pointing out with 

disapproval that libertine Christians name their Gospels after the names of 

women, such as Eve or Mary Magdalene. In Panarion, Epiphanius refers to 

a holy book called Great Questions Of Mary, which describes how Christ 

once brought Mary Magdalene to a mountain to impart a private instruction 

to her which was not vouchsafed to his other students. The common 

mythological device of being brought to a high mountain is a symbol of 

ascending to an altered state of consciousness, entering the realm of divine 


Of this cult, Epiphanius wrote: 

And they too have many books. .. about the Ialdobaoth ... and in the name 

of Seth ... and they have ventured to compose other Gospels in the name of 

the disciples, and are not ashamed to say that our Saviour and Lord himself, 

Jesus Christ, revealed this obscenity.... they suggest that he revealed it to her 

after taking her aside on the mountain, praying, producing a woman from his 

side, beginning to have intercourse with her, and then partaking of his 

emission, if you please, to show that 'Thus we must do, that we may live.' 

And when Mary was alarmed and fell to the ground, he raised her up and 

said to her '0 thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?' 
That Christ chooses to share this mystery with Mary alone is yet another 
indication of the unique place she holds in his circle. The reference to the 

"name of Seth" associated with these libertine teachings is a further 
suggestion that Jesus may have been one of the magicians who invoked the 

deity Seth-Typhon, a god long associated with sexual sorcery. The practice 

of ritualized copulation followed by consumption of the sexual fluids 

described here is, of course, analogous to the ingestion of post-coital semen 

and female amrita that we have already observed taking place within the 

Varna Marga tradition. In both sinister Tantra or Gnostic libertinism, the 

celebrants do not swallow the sexual elixir to integrate some physical 

property contained in the fluid but to devour magical energies of which the 

physical substance is only an outer form. Tantrics seek to imbibe the 

essential shiva/shakti power. Gnostics believed that drinking the sperm or 

menstrual blood would prevent souls from being born, delivering the unborn 

beings contained in the seed to the pleroma, a spiritual realm above the 

control of the Archon, the tyrannical rulers of the sphere of matter. In both 

cases, the willed transformation of a natural, mortal substance into an 

immortal, psychic force is essentially left-hand path. 

Elsewhere in The Panarion, Epiphanius writes of the unnamed sect, 

which may be the Naasenes: "They say that the flesh must perish and cannot 

be raised, but belongs to the Archon, but the power in the menses and semen, 

they say; is soul 'which we gather and eat ...' and when Christ said, 'Except ye 

cat my flesh and drink my blood,' and the disciples were disturbed and 

replied, 'Who can hear this?' they say the statement was about the dirt [a 

euphemism for semen]." According to Epiphanius, the libertine Gnostics 

interpreted the Eucharist of Christ's "flesh and blood" literally. He describes 

one of the followers of Christ asking his menstruating bride to have sex with 

another brother of the sect during a communal gathering. Upon climax, the 

male withdraws his penis, and the copulating couple receive the semen on 

their own hands rather than allowing it to flow into the vagina, as a sacrificial 

offering made to Jesus. "Whenever they go wild for themselves," Epiphanius 

reports, "they soil their own hands with their own ejaculated dirt [semen], get 

up and pray stark naked with their hands defiled." 

We offer this gift, the body of Christ," they intone, referring to the 

sacrificed semen. The female's menstrual blood is offered with the words, 

"This is the blood of Christ." After these sacrificial prayers, the fluid is 

consumed by the couple. This recalls the Tantric left-hand path concept of 

ejaculation into the shakti as a sacrifice, and the need to return the spilled 

essence back into the body where it serves a psychic function. The 

sanctification of menstrual blood is another striking similarity between 

Tantric and Gnostic Christian left-hand path practice. The taboo against 

menstrual blood, symbol of the dangerous lunar power of the feminine force, 

was every bit as pronounced in the Hellenized Middle Eastern areas in which 

Gnostic Christianity flourished as it was in the Indian regions where the 

Varna Marga celebrated comparable rites. Beneath this Gnostic Christian 

sacrificial meal of semen and menstrual blood is surely a variation of a much 


earlier custom of human and animal sacrifice for magical purposes, also 

reflected in the literal sacrifice of Christ's body on the cross. Epiphanius 

further interprets the coded sexual references in the Gnostic Gospels, which 

appear to be written in the same sort of left-hand path "twilight language" 

(Sanskrit sandhya-bhasa) used later in the Tantras: 

"By 'the outgoing of water' and, 'that will bring forth his fruit,' means the 

emission at climax. And its leaf shall not fall off means 'We do not allow it 

[semen] to fall to the ground, but eat it ourselves.... and I am going to omit 

most of their proof-texts, lest I do more harm than good by making them 

public ... When it says that Rahab put a scarlet thread in her window, this was 

not scarlet thread, they tell us, but the female organs, and the scarlet thread 

means the menstrual blood., and 'Drink water from your cisterns' means the 


Like the Mary Magdalene described in the New Testament, the Old 

Testament's Rahab is also a prostitute, suggesting another connection 

between the Gnostic tradition of sex magic and sacred prostitution. If 

Epiphanius is correct in associating the color scarlet with the vulva of a 

magical whore/consort, this symbolism may also come into play in the much 

later Apocalyptic description of the "Scarlet Woman ... the mother of 


Although few occultists are aware of Epiphanius's Penarion, this 

obscure early Christian text has actually exerted a strong, if circuitous, 

impact on the development of contemporary Western erotic initiation. The 

French author Clement de Saint-Marcq specifically cited. The Penarion in 

his 1906 essay, The Eucharist, which argues that the true power once 

underlying Christianity has been lost due to the organized Church's 

replacement of the original Gnostic sexual Mass with the symbolic rite of 

wine and wafer. According to de Saint-Marcq: "Saint Epiphanius provides a 

complete description of the Eucharist ceremony, but attributes it solely to the 

Gnostics, carefully representing it as an aberration abhorrent to all true 

Christians. In their gatherings, he said, men and women ate human 
reproductive seed, turning to the altar, and saying (to the All Mighty) 

^Offerimus tibi donum corpus Christi' 'We offer in sacrifice the body of 

Christ! '" 

Theodor Reuss, founder of the early twentieth century German 

quasi-Masonic brotherhood known as O.T.O., or Ordo Templi (Mentis, read 

The Eucharist, and proclaimed that de Saint-Marcq had revealed in its pages 

the pivotal mystery of the O.T.O. - the Gnostic ritual consumption of semen 

as embodiment of the logos provided a medium between the adept and the 

divine. From Reuss. this doctrine was passed on to Aleister Crowley, who 

made the eating of his own sperm into an almost daily magical practice. 


Although their practice of a sexual eucharist may be the same, it should be 

noted that there is a vast gulf between the Gnostic's initiatory goal of selfapotheosis 

and Crowley's ineffectual sorcery which was invariably focused 

on a futile attempt to magically materialize money. 
Even in this brief sketch of early Christianity's left-hand path, we 
encounter the same method of ritual spermophagia we have already 
encountered among India's Varna Marga adepts, and will later come across 
again as an essential element in the sex magic practiced in the later O.T.O. 
tradition, to cite only a few examples. In The Eucharist, Clement de Saint- 
Marcq states that this custom can be found in the ancient religions of Egypt, 
China, Africa, and even declares the odd theory that the Gnostic sex rites 
can be traced to Hindu teachings - which suggests that he may have been 
dimly aware of left-hand path ideas slowly beginning to circulate in the 
West at that time. The phenomena of such internally coherent systems of 
erotic alchemy appearing in ancient Judea, medieval India, and modern 
Europe make it increasingly evident that the sinister current is far more than 
a local tradition - it is, in Jungian terms, a true archetype, a Platonic eidolon 
eternally taking flesh with only the slightest variations throughout human 


Viewed in this light, the question of whether the magus Christ and 

his companion Mary Magdalene were living human beings, mythic 

constructs, or an admixture of the two, becomes practically irrelevant. For 

the pragmatic left-hand path magician of today, more interested in his/her 

own self-deification than in reverence for external beings, Christ and the 

Magdalene are only one of the most intriguing instances of the sinister 

current couple, yet another manifestation of Shiva and Shakti's play of 


Simon Magus And Helene 

To more fully understand, and thus integrate, the contrasexual forms which 

the left-hand path reverberation of the relationship between Simon and 


From the cult that had formed around the figure of the magus Jesus, 

Simon appears to have borrowed several key ideas. He just as ardently 

claimed to be the Son of God. More specifically, Simon taught his own 

version of a Holy Trinity; with himself as the father, Jesus as the Son and his 

consort Helene as the Holy Spirit - this concept of Sophia as Holy Spirit was 

a common one among the Gnostic sects. In contrast to the magus Christ's 

selfless magical acts of healing and benevolence, as described in the 

authorized Bible, records of Simon's thaumaturgy seem more distinctly 

sinister. If he was admired for his miracles, they also seemed to inspire fear. 

He was well known for his necromantic ability, the invocation of demons for 


self-seeking purposes, and the alchemical creation of an homunculus, an 

artificial humanoid being. We are told that he had built statues of himself 

and Helene, idols which he supposedly enjoined his many disciples to 


Of course, we must remember that this rather diabolical picture of 

Simon was used by the Church to present him as an egomaniacal charlatan 

and an impostor in comparison to his ostensibly virtuous contemporary 

Jesus. Orthodox texts present Christ as a self-effacing humble figure who 

seeks to lead others to become one with God. Simon, however, is depicted as 

striving to become God - the ultimate left-hand path goal. In point of fact, it 

is quite probable that the magical operations and objectives of Simon and 

Christ were not so radically different, since they seem to both have been 

based on precisely the same Graeco-Egyptian Gnostic tradition. ICs ironic 

that one of the great heresies of Simon is his claim that the prostitute Helene 

is "the holy spirit in all her splendor", since Mary Magdalene plays such an 

equivalent role in the myth of Jesus. 

According to Church legend, the renown of Simon and Helene 

became so great in Rome that even the Emperor Nero and his wife Poppaea 

could be numbered among their adherents. This association in itself suggests 

the Satanic image afforded to Simon Magus by orthodox Christians, who 

hated Nero as the instigator of anti-Christian persecution, later identifying 

him as the Great Beast 666 of the Apocalypse. As wicked Nero's spiritual 

Master, Simon Magus may not be the Antichrist but he may well be one of 

the "false teachers" referred to in the passage in I John which reads "it is the 

last time: and as you have heard that anti-christ is coming, so now have 

many anti-christs have arisen; whereby we know that it is the last hour." 

A very common form of myth in antiquity is the Battle of the 

Magicians. In such duels, the triumphant party is presumably established as 

the ordained representative of a legitimate religion, whereas the loser is 

confirmed to be a pretender, a magical charlatan. The contest between the 

serpent-conjuring magus Moses and the court magicians of the Setian 

pharaoh Ramses is an archetypal example of this sort of competition. 

In The Acts Of The Apostles, the best-known mythical account of 

Simon Magus, the Apostle Peter is portrayed as the Christian hero who 

vanquishes the left-hand path magus at the height of his powers. Invited by 

Nero to perform a miracle before the Roman masses to win them over 

categorically to his cult, Simon arrogantly opts for the Forum as a suitably 

grand stage for his magic. To reveal that he is indeed as powerful as God - 

as a self-deified being himself - the magus vows to rise to Heaven before the 

eyes of the spectators. This he easily proceeds to do, ascending high above 

the Forum. Outraged at this blasphemous challenge to the powers of his 

favored magus, Christ, Peter manages to defeat Simon by merely praying 


and making the sign of the cross. Simon topples to his death, defeated by 

Peter, who went on to become the first Pope. It as based on legends like 

these that the formerly vilified magic of Christ - which as we have seen was 

originally judged to be demonic in character by the Pharisees - slowly 

became a reputable and state-approved religion, while the magic of Simon 

Magus was branded as the illegitimate chicanery of a scoundrel. 

Despite the purportedly tidy defeat of Simon, the Simonian sect 

continued to hold sway for many centuries. It decisively shaped Ophite 

Gnosticism, with its celebration of the sexual lessons of the female serpent, 

and contributed much to hermetic magical practice and European alchemy, 

both of them suffused with cryptic references to the sexual creation of a 

spiritual hermaphrodite within the physical organism. The name of Simon 

Magus also lives on in one of the many sins still recognized by the Catholic 

Church. The sin of simony consists of trying to buy the gift of the Holy 

Spirit, one of the many spiritual offenses the Samaritan magician was 

charged with perpetrating. 

If Simon Magus and Helene can be considered the first coherent 

figures of the black magician and his consort in the West, the first century 

Gnostic mage also appears to have served as the role model for Europe's most 

enduring legendary diabolist, the mysterious Doctor Faust. Simon was 
commonly known during his lifetime as faustus, Latin for "the favored one" - 

a reference, perhaps, to the reportedly uncanny luck which his inner daemon 

or genius brought to him. When Johann Goethe composed his epic Faust: A 

Tragedy, the definitive version of the Faust legend, he drew on deep research 

into the Gnostic heresies. In Goethe's Faust, the magician learns that the most 

powerful force in the cosmos - mightier than his blood-pact with 

Mephistopheles - is das Exvigxveibliche, the Eternal Feminine. 

Just as the original faustus, Simon Magus, encountered the Feminine 

power in the body of his consort Helene, the Tyrean whore, the fictional 

Doctor Faust finds this magical essence embodied in the beautiful Helen of 

Troy, summoned from the netherworld through the Devil's necromancy. It's 

hard to imagine that Goethe's depiction of a demon-conjuring sorcerer named 

Faustus and a supernatural feminine being named Helen is not a deliberate 

recurrence of Simon Magus and Helene, incarnation of the Divine Sophia. 

From first century Rome to eighteenth century Germany, the timeless 
paragons of the left-hand path adept and his shakti are clearly discernible. 

The Sacred Prostitute In Antiquity 

We have established that the semi-mythical figures of Simon and Christ are 

manifestations of the Graeco-Egyptian tradition of the magus. Viewed in 

their proper historical context, they can no longer be considered the unique 

phenomena orthodox Christianity presents them as. They are simply two 


particularly well-remembered magicians of their time, a period in which selfdeified 

magi operated in all sectors of society. Similarly, their Feminine 

Daemonic consorts, the prostitutes Helene and Mary Magdalene, are but 

enduring expressions of the sex-magical role which the sacred courtesan, or 

hierodule, has played from the very beginnings of recorded magical activity 

in the earliest known civilizations. 

Conditioned to associate the word "sacred" with purity, chastity, and 

celestial modes of being, and the word "prostitute" with promiscuity, lust, 

and carnality, the modern mind can only experience a jarring dissonance 

when these seemingly irreconcilable concepts are brought together in the 

form of the holy whore. The Semitic word for prostitute, k'deshah, is derived 

from the word for "sacred", the Mesopotamian temple prostitutes were 
known by the similar epithet of quadishtu. Despite her dominant place in the 

spiritual life of all pre-Christian cultures, the sacred prostitute is today an 

utterly banished power. Like all forces rejected by the mainstream of current 

pashu opinion, the left-hand path adept can find a great reservoir of untapped 

magical energy by contemplating and then integrating this rejected form of 

Shakti into his or her initiation. 

Of particular usefulness to sinister current initiates is the way in 

which the holy whore bridges the long sundered gap between spirituality and 

sexuality in her very body. She is a living yantra expressing the uniquely 

left-hand path interplay of the physical organism - the Temple of the Nine 

Gates - with the non-physical divine essence that can be caused to dwell 

within that shrine of flesh. The male who made a pilgrimage to any of the 

temples of sacred prostitution - institutions that played a pivotal role in the 

spiritual life of antiquity - was not simply seeking the relief of mundane 

orgasm readily available from a profane whore. He understood that his 

partner's body was mysteriously transformed during the rite into the literal 

incarnation of the goddess whose temple she served. 

Often trained since her youth in the practice of formal esoteric 

dance, the sacred prostitute elevated the ars amatoria of seduction into a 

religious art. An important key to the success of such magical operations of 

self-deification was the deliberately impersonal nature of these unions. The 

anonymous priestess recognized the stranger who came to her as the 

embodiment of the goddess's divine consort, often referring to him by the 

name of the god. As a priestess, it was her sacerdotal task to form a physical 

link between the divine mode of being and the mortal world; her partner 

received an erotic sacrament, equivalent to the sexual transmission of shakti 

operant in the left-hand path maithuna. The transcendent function of 

sexuality as a medium of divine communion occurring within the timeless 

locus of the temple, rather than as an alleviation of temporally bound 

physiological tensions, is the lost secret of sacred prostitution. 


A clear demarcation must be made between two types of sacred 

prostitution. There were the holy whores who were formally dedicated as 

slaves of a temple's presiding divinity and there were the profane women 

compelled to follow the common custom of temporarily offering themselves 

to strangers at the temple as a one-time self-sacrifice to the Goddess before 

marriage. This latter example of a widespread, obligatory, pre-nuptial 
religious observance did not partake of the same magical function engaged 

in by the permanent prostitute priestesses. 

In Egypt, sacred courtesans were the priestesses of Bastet and 

Hathor, goddesses of sexual love. Even after the decline of Egypt, the city of 

Naucratis was famed throughout the antique world for the beauty and 

seductive powers of its temple prostitutes. In Greece, the hetairae of 

Aphrodite Porne - Aphrodite the Whore - were especially honored. We 

have already discussed the devadasis of India, perhaps the longest-lasting 

cult of holy harlotry. But even in ancient times, the sacred whores of 

Babylon were accorded an unique dignity This reputation endures to this day 

in the image of Babylon as the height of lascivious idolatry - even the name 

has become a synonym for erotic excess taken to religious extremes. 

The Great Whore 
In the thrice mysterious hall where men have never entered, we 
have feted you, Astarte of the Night. Mother of the World, Weil- 
Spring of the life of all the Gods! I shall reveal a portion of the 

rite, but no more of it than is permissible. 
About a crowned phallos, a hundred-twenty women swayed and 


The initiates were dressed as men, the others in the split tunic. 

The fumes of perfume and the smoke of torches 

floated fog-like in and out among us all 

I wept my scorching tears. 

All, at the feet ofBerbeia, we threw ourselves, extended on our hacks. 

Then, when the religious Act was consummated, 

and when in the Holy Triangle the purpled phallos had been 

plunged anew, the mysteries began; but I shall say no more. 

- Pierre Louys, The Songs OfBilitis 

The essential left-hand mysterium of self-deification flowing from initiated 

female to male is described in one of the earliest extant texts of world 

literature. In the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh, dating from 7000 B.C.E, we 

read of an act of sexual initiation occurring between Samhat, a herem, or 

whore of the temple, and the primordial wild man Enkidu. The herein 

"opened wide her garments, exposing her charms, yielded herself to his 

embraces, and for six days and seven nights gratified his desire, until he was 


won from his wild life." 

Enkidu is transformed from a beast to a hero via this erotic induction 

carried out during the magically significant seven nights. In this marathon 

bout of sexual initiation we can recognize an ancient Near Eastern version of 

Varna Marga methodology. Enkidu, an animal bound entirely to nature, is a 

pashu; he becomes heroic - a potentially divine vira - only through 

prolonged contact with the sacred feminine force of the temple prostitute, the 

intermediary of the Great Goddess on earth. As in the Varna Marga rite 

celebrated with the initiated mudra, sex with this prostitute-priestess is an 

operation of theurgic sex magic that profoundly alters the consciousness of 

the male, allowing him to remanifest on a higher level of evolution. 

The anonymous author of the tale of Gilgamesh also tells us that the 

savage Enkidu is transfigured into a being "like unto a god" through the 

shakti-power emanated via Samhat's "art of the woman." An important part 

of this rite is the courtesan's "anointing Enkidu with fragrant oil." 2,500 years 

before the Christian era began, we see a prefiguration of the sacred prostitute 

Mary Magdalene's anointing of the god-man Christ with consecrated oil, a 

sexual laying on of hands that causes the power of the feminine holy spirit, 

the Sophia, to descend into the body of the magus. Like Samhat, the earliest 

known representative of their sorority, the whores of Babylon and Sumer laid 

claim to a similar initiatory ability. 

The importance of sacred prostitution to Babylon can be attributed to 

the fact that Mesopotamian culture's eldest and most prominent female 

divinity, the Queen of Heaven, was worshipped as the patroness of all 

prostitutes, both sacred and profane, female and male. This complex deity, 

known to the Sumerians as manna, and the Babylonians as Ishtar, was also 

venerated in other cultures as Astarte, among countless other regional 
variations. As a shakti conducive to workings of the sinister current, this 
goddess, still potent among Western left-hand path magicians today after 

thousands of years, has few peers. 

In a very early writing, a priestess known as Enheduanna refers to manna as 

the mother of harlots. In hymns sung in her honor, Ishtar describes her temple 

as a "tavern"; then, as now, the traditional hunting ground for whores. Some 

images portray her as a prostitute leaning out of a window looking for 

customers. Her temple priestesses were known as the ishtaritu, in honor of 

her, and as an indication that they were charged to embody her in the sexual 

rites of sacrament celebrated in her temples. 

Inanna is the erotic goddess par excellence, the wild, unrestrained 

side of female sexual power as a divine force in and of itself. Despite the 

adoration in which she was held by all quarters of Sumerian society, a culture 

characterized by the strict rule of law, and dominated by the importance of 

the family and the marriage contract, Innana is very much a divinity outside 



the established societal standards. In none of her myths is she depicted as a 

mother or a wife; the intensity of this manifestation of Shakti exceeds the 

ownership of another or acquiescence to the social niceties such roles would 

entail. "Like the demons," Volkert Haas has written of Ishtar in his study of 

Hittite magic, "she has no mother, husband or children." In this regard, she is 

the hypostasis of extramarital sex, prostitution and all acts of lust occurring 

outside the rule of law. Diane Wolkstein, a contemporary translator of the 

myths of Inanna-Ishtar, has described the goddess as "the place where not all 

energies have been tamed or ordered." 

And yet, every year, the kings of Sumer, and later of Babylon, were 

obliged to assure the vigor of their royal authority and of the fertility of the 

land by engaging in a publicly celebrated act of sexual magic with a priestess 

representing this wild sexual entity. The High Priestess of the ishtaritu would 

climb the zigurrat as the incarnation of the goddess; an altar-bed, "the bed of 

kingship and queenship", awaited her in a specially appointed chamber. 

There, she took the sovereign into the liminal realm of what has been 

described as "the holy loins" or "her wondrous vulva", magically bestowing 

the power of the Queen of Heaven upon the King of Earth in a hieros gamos, 

a sacred wedding. 

In another public religious ceremony dedicated to Inanna, we see the 

symbolism of the left-hand path expressed in an hermaphroditic rite. Women 

devotees in these processions wore masculine attire on the right side of their 

bodies, while men wore feminine garb on their left sides, reflecting a pre- 

Tantric association of gender with the energies of right and left. This ritual 

attire was apparently a form of identification with the goddess, who is 

occasionally pictured as a bisexual being in half -male/half-female raiment. 

Ishtar was also said to exist as a hidden figure of the opposite sex within each 

human being, a concept obviously prefiguring the contrasexual concept of 


Despite her cherished role as the divine symbol of the infinitely 

desirable, sexually passionate woman, once she leaves the pleasures of her 

"bed that sweetens the loins" there is no denying manna's streak of cruelty, 

her violence, her overwhelming aura of danger. It is rare that such an 

important goddess in any mythological pantheon is so associated with the 

darker aspect of the Feminine Daemonic - in this, she resembles Kali, who is 

at one Kalakarshini, the destroyer of time, and Kamini, incarnation of 
sensuality. Coupled with her dominion over the erotic sphere, Inanna-Ishtar 
presides over the powers of war. Her lust for destroying adversaries is every 
bit as ardent as her amorous desires. For the Sumerians, war was "the dance 

of Innana," and the Akkadians called the battlefield the "playground of 

Ishtar." In this guise, she is seen as a fierce regent of war, literally armed to 

the hilt with swords and arrows, guarded by her sacred animal, a rampant 


lion. But even when dressed to kill, she strikes a sexually provocative pose. 

In Inanna-Ishtar, Whore Goddess and War Goddess, the creative chaos 

energizing both lust (Eros) and combat (Ares) is united. 

Astronomically, manna is the morning and evening star, the planet 

Venus, eventually related to the myth of Lucifer, the light-bringer. The light 

of her star, symbolized as an eight-pointed emblem, was said to guide the 

way of prostitutes in the darkness of the desert. She is also a shamanic 
goddess of mystical initiation who descends to the underworld, confronts 
death, and returns transformed to the consciousness of day Connected to the 
sacred number seven we have already encountered in other contexts, one of 
her best-known myths finds her ritually removing seven articles of clothing 
at the seven gates of the underworld, finally revealing her nakedness. From 
this myth derives the ritual revelation of female erotic power known as the 

Dance of the Seven Veils. 

Something of the ambiguous nature of manna's being - and its 

relevance to the sinister current - can be gleaned from the tale recounting the 

goddess's encounter with Enki, the god of wisdom, the arch-magician. After 


she literally drinks a smitten Enki under the table, the god of wisdom 

"swaying with drink" bestows upon her his hidden powers, known in 

Sumerian as me. Among these powers are such traditionally valued qualities 

as truth, godship, certain talents and crafts, the art of song, and a variety of 

magical weapons. But Innana also boasts that she was given other powers 

from the drunken god of wisdom: "He gave me the art of lovemaking", "He 

gave me the kissing of the phallus," "He gave me the art of prostitution," "He 

gave me the cult prostitute ... the holy tavern ... the art of slanderous speech 

... the art of treachery ... the plundering of cities..." When the inebriated god 

sobers up, he realizes to his dismay that his seductive guest has absconded with 

all of his wisdom. 

Reverence for the sexual prowess and magical powers of the Great Whore 

extended even to Egypt, where she was known as Astarte. In one myth 

concerning the Egyptian sinister deity Set, his mother Nut offers him the foreign 

goddess Astarte as a sexual consort. Set's mother hopes that Astarte's legendary 

charms will distract Set from his ceaseless belligerence, so disruptive to the 

static harmony sought by the other Egyptian gods. But the sexual coupling of 

Set and Ishtar, both of whom are divinities of war and extreme sexuality 

removed from societally respectable channels, hardly seems like an 

encouraging recipe for fostering harmony. In the papyri collection of Egyptian 

spells known as Leiden J, Astarte and Set are both appealed to for magical 

The Demonization Of The Great Whore 

The invincible goddess, known as Manna, Ishtar, Astarte and Ashtoreth, had 
been victorious in so many battles before. But she finally fell victim to the rise 

of the three monotheistic faiths that emerged in the Middle East. As with so 

many of the great gods of antiquity, it was Inanna-Ishtar's fate to eventually be 

toppled from her throne and forced into service as a grossly simplified Judeo- 

Christian demon. Like other pre-Christian deities, this was not a simple 

transference of her attributes into one new entity; Ishtar was split into two 

disparate beings - a minor figure in the Old Testament, and a far more 

substantial presence in the New Testament. 

The sexual rites of Ishtar were especially loathsome to the Levite 

priests, worshippers of the "jealous and wrathful" male god Yahweh. The very 

idea of a powerful female priesthood dedicated to sexual worship was 

abominable to a faith that envisioned womankind as the cause for man's 

expulsion from paradise. In Canaan, the erotic sacrament was enshrined in the 

bodies of the temple courtesans of Ashtoreth, the consort of Baal. The Old 

Testament quotes Samuel as warning Israel to "put away the strange gods and 

Ashtoreths from among you and prepare your hearts for the Lord". Elsewhere, 

we read that the Israelites "forsook the Lord and worshipped Baal and 




The Levite hatred of Ashtoreth and her prostitute-priestesses was 

shared by the later ascetic strain of Christianity that took root in Rome. The 

Roman Emperor Constantine, the first Caesar to adopt the Christian religion, 

personally ordered the destruction of one of the last temples of Ashtoreth at 

Aphaca, Caanan in 300 CE, declaring the ancient temple to be "immoral." 

Constantine's fateful conversion to Christianity marked the beginning of the 

West's slide into the abyss, and marks a turning point in the desecration of the 

feminine principle from its former power. 

The name Ashtoreth, removed from any historical context, eventually 

found its way into Christian demonology. The Goetic magicians of the Christian 

era summoned Ashtoreth as the first of the demonological hierarchy of 
Thrones. The radiant goddess Ishtar was reduced from her former status as the 

personification of lust to a rather shabby demon, who merely "tempts men 
with idleness and sloth." When the notorious Madame Montespan, mistress of 
the French King Louis XIV, performed her famous black masses in the 1670s 

to cast a lust spell on the monarch's straying heart, the demon Astaroth was 

invoked - it is doubtful that Montespan knew that she was really calling on the 

Great Whore herself for this enchantment. The nineteenth century 

demonologist Collin de Plancy drew Astaroth as a repulsive spider-bodied 

entity sporting the heads of a cat, a lugubrious king, and a frog; a far cry 

from the majestic deity from which the petty demon derived. A much more 

powerful survival of Inanna-Ishtar plays a major role in the New Testament's 

visionary Book Of Revelation, the Apocalypse written by John of Patmos in 

approximately 95 C.E. In Revelation 17: 3-6, John writes: 

"I saw the Scarlet Woman sitting on a Beast with seven heads and ten horns, 

covered with blasphemous names. The woman was clothed in purple and 

scarlet, and gilded with gold and precious stones and pearls, with a golden 

cup in her hand filled with the abominations and the unclean things of her 

fornications. On her forehead a name had been written, a mystery: Babylon 

the Great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the Earth. I saw 

the woman was drunk from the blood of the Saints, and from the blood of 

the martyrs of Jesus. Seeing her, I wondered greatly." 

Countless interpreters of the Bible, running the gamut from the scholarly to 

the demented, have attempted to decode this awesome apparition of the end 

times. But whether John intended Babylon the Great to signify some 

contemporary evil, a metaphysical truth, or both, there's no doubt that he 

drew directly on the well-established image of Inanna-Ishtar, who was once 

revered by her devotees as "the mother of harlots." John's description of the 

Scarlet Woman and the dragon Leviathan upon which she rides also echoes 

a Babylonian religious text addressed to Ishtar: "Like a dragon you have 

filled the land with venom. ... Lady mounted on a beast..." 


Much like Kali, the apocalyptic Whore of Babylon is a symbol of 

the primordial woman of sacred chaos returning at the end of time; both 

goddesses incarnate the potent sexual violence that gave birth to the 

universe, restored to her awe-inspiring authority at the hour of dissolution. 


For some European Hermeticists, who later interpreted the Bible as a veiled 

alchemical text, the color of the Scarlet Woman of the Apocalypse 

symbolized the phase in the alchemical work known as the Red Opus. In 

1584 C.E, the Elizabethan mage Dr. John Dee and his associate Edward 

Kelly recorded their Enochian Aires, in which a distorted version of the 

Scarlet Woman's name, Babalon, first makes a cryptic appearance. 

It was under this curious name that Inanna-Ishtar-Astarte, 

mankind's first documented deity of feminine sexual magic, would return, 

several centuries later, to take her place as the chief egregore of a modern 

Western sex-magical tradition. 


Eastern Secrets And Satanic 


The Left-Hand Path 
And The Modern Magical Revival 

The Varna Marga - From East To West 

Almost all of the modern European magical Orders and teachers that can be 

said to have had a major influence on left-hand path sex magic, whether for 

good or for ill, have based their authority on a claimed transmission of secret 

Asian or Middle Eastern knowledge to the West. Among the mages we will 

consider in this chapter, we can count Theodor Reuss's sex-magical fraternity 

Ordo Templi Orientis, whose very name suggests a hidden Eastern source; G. 

I. Gurdjieff and H. P. Blavatsky, who both cited Tibetan Buddhism as their 

inspiration, and P. B. Randolph, who acknowledged Syria as the root of his 

erotic magic. As we shall see, for the most part, such claims were nothing 

more than romantic myths, but these persuasive legends of a hidden Oriental 

sexual wisdom being revealed for the first time exerted a potent fascination 

on early twentieth century magicians from industrialized cultures. This 

tendency of would-be sages in the 19th Century West to present their 

knowledge in Eastern guise was also based on the historic fact that there had 

been an immense Eastern magical influence on Europe from the Islamic 

world many centuries earlier; such currents as alchemy, the Troubadour 

tradition, and hermetic magic had been imported through contact with Arabic 


Western magicians seem to more easily embrace the concept of 

sexual initiation if it is thought to have been derived from some exotic 

elsewhere. We find the same phenomenon today; although the allure of a 

mysterious East has been considerably lessened by the advent of mass 

tourism, television and the World Wide Web; now the mystery-hungry more 

readily accept channeled revelations from sunken Atlantis or communications 

from extraterrestrial worlds. 

However, the first inklings of the Eastern sinister current went 

Westwards in a more prosaic fashion. An unlikely group of messengers first 

brought actual knowledge of the real left-hand path tradition from India to 

England, from whence it slowly spread throughout Europe and the New 


World, sometimes mutating into wholly unexpected hybrid strains. In the 

mid-nineteenth century, the British colonial rulers of India were working 

with a cabal of Christian missionaries to implement legislation criminalizing 

the practice of Tantra, and especially its "barbaric" left-hand path sexual 

branch. Vigorously supporting this anti-Tantric prohibition movement were 

many puritanical Indian representatives of the high-born Brahmin caste, who 

had long regarded the caste-defiant and heretical methods of left-handed 

Tantra as a disgusting profanation of Vedic law. Faced with such pressure, 

the struggling Varna Marga circles were forced to celebrate their rites under 

even more secretive conditions than had previously been the case. 

Into this environment came Edward Sellon (1818-1866), a young 

British Army officer, amateur pornographer and fairly notorious connoisseur 

of recondite sexuality. Stationed in India since the age of sixteen, Sellon was 

intrigued by the rumors of the kaula midnight orgies, and of the sacred 

celebration of wine and woman in the secret rite of the five Ms. With the help 

of a local civil servant, Sellon managed to earn the confidence of one kaula 

chakra, and observe what he described with a typically Victorian mixture of 

prurience and moralism as the "very licentious" circle orgies of the Shakti 

cult. Some commentators have suggested that young Sellon's first experience 

of sex took place within the context of the left-hand path ritual, but so little 

biographical information exists on this elusive character that this must be 

ascribed to conjecture. 

Sellon's work, despite its obscurity, was instrumental in bringing 

awareness of the left-hand path to the West. Judging from these writings, it is 

apparent that he certainly had a first-hand knowledge of Tantric erotic 

initiation. However, it was not until twenty years after Sellon's return to 

England that he first revealed something of what he had learned of the sexual 

power of the goddess whose name he spelled as "Sacti". In 1865, he released 

a peculiar work of eccentric scholarship entitled Annotations On The Sacred 

Writings Of The Hindus. This booklet puts forth his theory that the sexual 

rites still observed by the Shakti cult are a living continuation of a onceuniversal 

tradition of sexual initiation that was celebrated by the ancient 

Egyptians, pre-monotheistic Israelites and Assyrians. Although he dismisses 

some of the Tantric sex practices as superstition, he concludes that the lefthand 

path's methods of awakening are the survival of a tradition that "two 

thousand, years before the Christian era ... was, as at the present day, in full 

force; the Gnosticism of India." Seeking to connect a hidden sexual mystery 

underscoring all ancient religions, Sellon interprets the phallic lingam and 

vulval yoni of India as identical with the genital symbolism of Isis and Osiris, 

among other contrasexual mythologies. In the orgia of the chakra puja, 

Sellon sees a distant survival of the rites of the ancient Greek Dionysian 



Sellon explains how the universal mind, Brahma, split itself into a 

left-sided female and a right-sided male whose androgynous copulation 

created the manifest world of appearances. With something of the lecherous 

zeal with which he wrote his pornographic tales, he lovingly describes the 

youthful beauty of the naked female sexual consorts representing the Shakti 

force, who he accurately refers to as the duds. In an 1866 autobiography of 

his adventures, The Ups And Downs Of Life, Memoirs Read Before the 
Anthropological Society Of London, Sellon noted that the duti was selected 

regardless of her caste, and although a temple dancer was preferred, she 
could be a pariah, slave, or courtesan. These pioneering Western accounts of 

left-hand path practices were considerably less sensational and ill-informed 

than many later European descriptions, which almost universally condemned 

the Varna Marga as the blackest of the supposedly degraded heathen customs 

of a savage people. Sellon's work was an improvement over the sensational 

rumors Westerners had previously been exposed to, which ignorantly 

connected the secret rites of Tantra with human sacrifice and the murderous 

depredations of the Thuggee cult of stranglers. 

In April of 1866, having just made his curious contribution to 

knowledge of the left-hand path, the 48-year old Sellon shot himself to death 

in a London hotel. His little-known books, published only ten years before 

the advent of the Western magical revival, are some of the first to suggest 

that the very roots of all esoteric religions, mystery cults, and mystical 

symbolism are based on a hidden sexual gnosis thats only uninterrupted 

surviving tradition is the Tantric left-hand path. Sellon's ideas, although 

crudely presented, deserve credit as presaging the more sophisticated 

Western sex-magical philosophies of such later figures as Randolph, Reuss, 

Crowley, Parsons, Evola, and Grant. 

British awareness of the left-hand path, first established by a 

pornographer, was expanded upon by the writings of a priest. The Calcuttabased 

Christian missionary W. J. Wilkins, unlike many of his more zealous 

colleagues in conversion, did not view the teeming sects of India as so many 

bugs to be stamped out for the Lord. In his Hindu Mythology, VedicAnd 

Puranic, published in London in 1882, Wilkins provided his readers with a 

sober, objective account of the basic Tantric philosophy and practice, not 

shying away from the sinister current. Inevitably, a few Europeans living in 

India were actually initiated into the circle of the left-hand path, but these 

first legitimate "white Tantrikas" did little to introduce the authentic practice 

they had learned to the West. As is so often the case in the history of ideas, 

the true popularization of the left-hand path outside the sub-continent was 

facilitated by individuals who barely understood the concept - in this 

instance, the cranky amalgamation of genuine wisdom, starry-eyed 

romanticism and confidence game that constituted the modern occult 



Madame Blavatsky Gets It All Wrong 

One of the features that characterized the culture of the nineteenth century 

occult revival was the giddy appropriation of exotic metaphysical terms 

from non-Western cultures. The Theosophical Society, co-founded in 1875 

by the fraudulent Russian spiritualist Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky 

(1831 — 1891), was an important agency in this process. Through the 

internationally embraced Theosophy movement, which also first popularized 

that now odious expression "New Age", half-understood concepts such as 

karma, akashic record, mahatma, yogi, chakra, and many more became 

common currency among European and American occultists. Among the 

hoard of esoteric expressions cited by Blavatsky and her followers were 

"Left Hand Path" and "Right Hand Path." (The custom of capitalizing these 

words derives from Blavatsky, and was later imitated by Aleister Crowley) 

There could hardly have been a worse interpreter of the left-hand 

path and right-hand path for Western audiences than Blavatsky, whose 

doggedly misguided explanation of the sexual and non-sexual approaches to 

Tantra has been the single most influential source of perplexity on the 

subject. As first given forth to her followers in her autocratically remitted 

books and magazine articles, which she cobbled together from an immense 

library of plagiarized sources, and subsequently twisted by others into ever 

more erroneous interpretations to the present day, the Blavatskyite version 

of the left-and right-hand path remains the most widely accepted in Western 

occult circles. 
For Blavatsky, it was all quite simple: the left-hand path was 

simply the path of evil, whereas the right-hand path was characterized as the 

path of good. The vast network of Tantric teaching that gave these terms 

their meaning - and which oversteps the very idea of evil and good, as it 

does all dualities accepted by the herd-animal - was conveniently ignored 

altogether. Not surprisingly, she averred that she and her Theosophical 

Society were most decidedly of the right-hand path, which she associated 

with the vaguely Rosicrucian notion of a Great White Brotherhood. 

According to the good Madame, anyone who didn't support Theosophy - or 

was determined to prove her f akery - was of the left hand path, the Black 

Brotherhood. Although many orthodox Hindus would probably agree with 

her assessment of the left-hand path as "evil", it is unknown where exactly 

she picked up this particular bias. 

According to Blavatsky, the source of her wisdom, which she 

revealed to mankind in her The Secret Doctrine, was Tibet, where she had 

supposedly been initiated into an inestimably ancient esoteric teaching. 

However, none of her writings indicate anything but the most superficial 

knowledge of Tibetan mysticism, a fact betrayed by her ignorant 
interpretation of the left-hand path. From the smattering of knowledge she 
gathered in her voluminous reading of occult texts, she obviously learned 


that the left-hand path had something to do with sex, and for Blavatsky - at 

least in her official writings - sex was unspeakable, a "beastly appetite 

which should be starved into submission." (Like so many self-appointed 

guardians of morality, Blavatsky's private sex life appears to have been 

much more adventurous than her public image of rectitude would suggest). 

Theosophical theology, clearly influenced by ascetic rather than libertine 

Gnosticism, conveys a general distaste for the fleshly cage in which the soul 

is theoretically "imprisoned." Carl Jung once perceptively described 

Blavatsky's Theosophy as "pure Gnosticism in Hindu dress." Left-handed 

Tantra, as an initiatory doctrine which considers the flesh not as a terrible 

prison to be escaped from, but as a temple to be held sacred, could only be 

conceived of as anathema by Blavatsky. 

In her Theosophical Glossary, she clucks her tongue disapprovingly 

at the left-hand path: "the special energy connected with sexual rites and 

magical powers - the worst form of black magic or sorcery." Here we find 

the first popular equation of the Eastern idea of the left-hand path with the 

Western concept of black magic. This untenable synthesis of mutually 

exclusive cultural catch-phrases - the former a precise description of a 

method, the latter a vague moral judgment - would he embellished upon by 

a quarrelsome legion of occultists throughout the twentieth century Through 

this process, Blavatsky's uninformed conflation of left-hand path with black 

magic would become the norm among the denizens of the occult subculture. 

As part of her elaborate, well-nigh Lovecraftian science fiction 

cosmogony, Blavatsky also taught that the "immoral" left-hand path was 

actually a degenerate relic of a. decadent "root-race" that had originated in 

the lost continent of Atlantis. This theory indicates just how far afield the 

Western occult understanding of the left-hand path had strayed from the real 

thing as practiced in Asia. For Blavatsky, whose esoteric theories of 

evolution were both a precursor of and a direct influence on the lunatic 

fringe of National Socialism, the left-hand path's depraved origins in an 

antediluvian lesser branch of humanity was a damning indictment indeed. 

As fanciful as it is, the Theosophical association of left-hand path sexual 

magic with a supposedly inferior racial strain emulates Hindu orthodoxy, 

which as we have seen, condemns the Varna Marga as a hideous sex cult 

originating among the lower castes. 

Arthur Avalon Almost Gets It Right 

If Blavatsky was the chief Western architect of the "left-hand path = evil" 

equation, her simplistic distortions were balanced by the far more accurate 

depiction of sinister Tantra provided in the work of Sir John Woodroffe 

(1865 — 1936). Not an occultist or magician from the outer fringes of 

society, Woodroffe was a thoroughly respectable high-ranking Justice living 


in Calcutta at the end of the nineteenth century, who developed a personal 

fascination with Tantric thought and practice. 

With his lawyer's zeal for defense and meticulous explication, 

Woodroffe took pen to paper under the mystical Celtic pseudonym of Arthur 

Avalon, and produced a series of groundbreaking works that explained. 

Tantra as a legitimate spiritual discipline. The Avalon books not only served 

to remove some of Tantra's stigma in the minds of his European readers. 

Many English-speaking Indians also regarded the left-hand path as a 

shameful relic of a supposedly savage heritage they would just as soon have 

forgotten in their desire to become a modern Westernized nation. Avalon's 

work introduced a wide native Indian readership to the value of practices 

that had previously been clouded with secrecy. Earlier Indian works in 

English concerning Tantra had offered a heavily censored, whitewashed 

version of the Tantric teachings, usually from the derisive and biased 

perspective of the Brahmin caste authors who wrote them. Strangely, it took 

a European to make Tantra into at least a partially acceptable subject of 

study in India. 

For all of the great benefit of Avalon's books in keeping an 

imperiled tradition alive, and the pioneering scholarship with which they 

were written, he also succeeded in promulgating a long-lasting 

misinterpretation of the left-hand path. If Blavatsky painted the Varna 

Marga in the most fiendish black, Avalon just as zealously whitewashed the 

subject, ignoring and evading the more socially taboo aspects of the secret 

rites. Woodroffe went overboard in his eagerness to simultaneously justify 

and downplay the notorious erotic aspects of Tantricism's left-hand path. 

Avalon stresses the dangers and grave consequences incurred by an adept 

who undergoes sacred sex without totally extinguishing every last trace of 

carnal enjoyment and biological lust from the act. Sir John did his best to 

explain the spiritual philosophy underpinning Tantra's sexual form of 

illumination, but his arguments come across as defensive, reflecting his own 

rather prudish prejudices. 

Considering the hysterical Victorian attitudes prevailing at the time, 

and Woodroofe/Avalon's objective of preventing Tantra from being declared 

against the law, his reticence is perfectly understandable. Unfortunately, 

many other authors unexposed to more primary sources and teachers have 

unwittingly taken up this misleading and strait-laced approach directly from 

Avalon's writings. The result has been that it's now practically become an 
article of faith among Westerners that the serious Tantric initiate must strive 
manfully (or womanfully) to resist all sensations of carnal delight during the 
sexual rite. This priggish attitude can be illustrated in his remark that "Many 
years ago Edward Sellon, with the aid of a learned Orientalist of the Madras 
Civil Service, attempted to learn [the secret rite's] mysteries, but for reasons, 
which I need not here discuss, did not view them from the right standpoint." 


The "right" standpoint, we must imagine, can only be the anti-hedonic 

interpretation of sexual illumination favored by Avalon, whose sensibilities 

were offended by Sellon's more lustful approach to the subject. 

Nevertheless, Avalon's books are essential reading due to their wealth of 

objectively conveyed knowledge concerning the principles and methods of 


Avalon is also notable as the first author to consider the possibility 

of left-hand path methods of sexual taboo-breaking as being "Antinomian" 

in character. In light of the recent connection of some Western schools of 

the nominal left-hand path with the antinomian concept, Avalon's much 

earlier ideas are illuminating. Writing of the left-hand path doctrine in 

which the liberated adept of the Vira and Divya level of initiation is said to 

have risen above good and evil (Dharma and Adharma), Avalon observes 

that such initiates are called Svechacari "whose way is Svechacara or Mo 

as you will—. He notes that "Similar doctrine and practices in Europe are 

there called Antinomianism." However, Avalon carefully explains why 

Antinomianism is an inaccurate description of the left-hand path's 

overcoming of social conditioning, commenting that 

"I spoke of Antinomian Doctrine and Practice, and of some Shakta theories 

and rituals which have been supposed to be instances of it. This word, 

however, requires explanation, or it may (I have since thought) lead to error 

in the present connection. There is always danger in applying Western terms 

to facts of Eastern life. Antinomianism is the name for heretical theories and 

practices which have arisen in Christian Europe. In short, the term, as 

generally understood, has a meaning in reference to Christianity, namely, 

contrary or opposed to Law, which here is the Judaic law as adopted and 

modified by that religion." 

In his insistence on using words with mantric precision, rather than 

according to arbitrary intellectual fads and fashions, Avalon's pioneering 

scholarship on the Varna Marga still stands head and shoulders above many 

modern attempts to make the mysteries of the left-hand path intelligible. 

P. B. Randolph - Forgotten Father Of Modern Sex Magic 

Although the books of Sellon, Wilkins, Blavatsky, and Avalon provided the 

West with its first inklings of understanding (and misunderstanding) 

concerning the left-hand path system of sexual illumination, it took many 

decades before the actual methods of left-handed Tantra were practiced in 

Europe. Long before the 1960s counterculture's interest in Eastern 

mysticism collided with the sexual revolution - a cross-pollination that 

brought some aspects of the Varna Marga to youthful seekers - a separate 


stream of sex magic began to form in the West. The origins of this variation 

of the sinister current could not be traced back to the ancient goddess cult of 

Mother India, but to the combustible energies of post-Civil War America. 

By far the most important nineteenth century sex magician, and 

perhaps the first to describe himself with that term, was the American occult 

Utopian, Paschal Beverly Randolph (1825 — 1875). Plagued by depression all 

his life, he committed suicide at the age of fifty in the same year that 

Madame Blavatsky founded her Theosophical Society, and in which Aleister 

Crowley was born. According to the Russian Satanist Maria de Naglowska, 

who later became entwined in Randolph's teachings, the true cause of 

Randolph's death was a curse placed on him by Madame Blavatsky herself, 

Naglowska, a sex magician herself, claimed that Blavatsky was angered at 

Randolph for breaking the unspoken law that forbids revealing the secrets of 

sex magic to the profane. This tale typifies the kind of melodramatic rumors 

that swirl around the known facts of Randolph's existence. 

His occult writings, and perhaps unwritten methods that were never 

put to paper, had a decisive influence on Blavatsky, Reuss, Crowley and the 

German magician Franz Bardon alike. Randolph's ideas, especially his 

utterly unique claim to be the possessor of a hidden body of knowledge he 

called the "Anseiratic Mysteries", also seem to have been adapted without 

credit by the spiritual teacher G. I. Gurdjieff. So we can say that this now 

largely forgotten magician originated many of the key concepts later 

publicized by the most significant figures of the Western occult revival. 

Here, we will concern ourselves largely with Randolph's sex-magical 

practices, which exhibit more than a passing resemblance to some left-hand 

path principles. 

The son of a wealthy Virginian medical doctor and a mulatto 

woman who may (or may not) have been of French-Malagasay descent, 

Randolph went to sea at 15, subsequently sailing around the world for five 

years. These travels enhanced his taste for adventurous voyage, and he 

eventually journeyed to such far-flung locales as Turkey, Egypt and Syria, 

sometimes serving as a ship's doctor. Randolph claimed to have acquired 

some of his magical knowledge in India, where he was supposedly initiated 

by Bengali yogis into the mysteries of Tantra. However, as mentioned 
earlier, this self-perpetuated biographical claim of "secret wisdom from the 
East" is one that we will encounter frequently in the history of Western sex 

magic, and must be taken with more than a grain of salt. Randolph's 
idiosyncratic system of erotic initiation is only superficially reflective of the 

authentic Varna Marga. 

An acquaintance of Abraham Lincoln, Randolph became a wellknown 

lecturer for the controversial cause of abolition before the American 

Civil War. (More than one occult conspiracy theorist has actually proffered 


the implausible speculation that Honest Abe was a secret initiate of 

Randolph's sex-magical fraternity.) In his relatively brief life, PBR - as he 

was respectfully known - also became a major player in almost all of the 

major occult movements and fashions of his time. In 1850, he was initiated 

into the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor (also known as the Hermetic 

Brotherhood of Light), the first of many Rosicrucian-themed. Orders with 

which he was involved. Swept up in the American craze for spiritualism and 

table-tapping initiated by the Fox sisters, a swindle he later rejected, he soon 

progressed to hermetic ceremonial magic. Among Randolph's friends could 

be counted the French mage Eliphas Levi, the most prominent author of the 

early magical revival, and Bulwer-Lytton, the British ceremonial magician 

and occult novelist who originated the concept of vril. (Bulwer-Lytton was 

one of the first British magicians to use the phrase left-hand path, but like 

Blavatsky he condemned it as a form of debased black magic, due to his 

aversion to any use of the erotic in initiation.) Randolph established the first 

American Rosicrucian association, the Third Temple of the Rosie Cross, 

founded in San Francisco. During the American Civil War, his Order 

activities were suspended, and Randolph fought for the Union, in the ranks 

of the all-black Fremont Legion. In 1870, he named himself the Supreme 

Hierarch, Grand Templar, Knight, Prior, and Hierarch of the Triple Order, 

also known as the Brotherhood of Eulls, a vehicle for his sex-magical 


In accordance with the traditional left-hand path teaching, 

Randolph acclaimed sex as the most powerful energy accessible to humans 

for the operation of magic. For him, sex was imbued with what he termed 

"the pellucid aroma of divinity." Although he never specified what divinity 

he had in mind, there can be no doubt that sex was a religious sacrament for 

this Rosicrucian adventurer. Randolph's open emphasis on sexual sorcery in 

the last years of his life not only caused him to be branded a "libertine" by 

his puritanical Rosicrucian colleagues, but led to his arrest for inciting "free 

love" and disturbing the public morality. If his sex magical theories now 

seem somewhat naive and rudimentary to the contemporary reader, it must 

also be remembered under what repressive psychosexual conditions any 

erotic experimentation had to be conducted in nineteenth century America. 

Compounding the challenge of writing openly about sexual magic in that era 

was Randolph's African ancestry, which already drew criticism in the 

atmosphere of institutionalized racism prevalent in the United States. He 

encountered far less prejudice in his dealings with European magicians. 

Randolph's allegation to have based his teaching on lessons learned 

from his supposed Tantric initiation in India is unlikely, but the other source 

he cited as the origin of his "soul-sexive" mysteries rests on even shakier 

ground.. Randolph claimed that he was but the interpreter to the West of a 


long-lost tradition of erotioinitiatic enlightenment practiced in Syria by a 

tribe known as the Nuzairis. This mysterious clan - neither Muslim nor 

Christian - can he compared to the Yezidi tribe, the supposed "devilworshippers" 

of Iraq. The great "Anseiratic" secret imparted to Randolph in 

Syria, or so his tale went, consisted of the ritual transmission between men 

and women of an electromagnetic energy emanating from "the seven 

magnetic points of the human frame" (luring the "marital office and function" 

- Randolph's euphemism for the sexual act. The seven magnetic points in the 

body radiating energy sound suspiciously like a restatement of the seven 

chakras of the Yuma Marga, rather than any known Middle Eastern tradition. 

And yet, despite the supposed Syrian tribal derivation of the sex 

magic secret, Randolph was not above indulging in a bit of typical occult 

braggadocio, asserting that "my doctrine ... alone declares and establishes the 

fact that the marital function [sex] is unquestionably the highest, holiest, most 

important, and most wretchedly abused of all that pertains to the human 


In fact, in a disclosure of truth almost unknown among the 

mythifying lineage of Western magicians, Randolph eventually admitted that 

he had concocted the whole Anseiratic legend - which he sometimes 

revealed under the cryptic pseudonym "The Rosicrucian" - from whole cloth. 

Nevertheless, the basic mechanics of his sexual magic technique, invented or 

not, have been the primary source for the best known streams of Western sex 

magic that followed. Randolph's writings are veiled in a sometimes 

impenetrable doublespeak, perhaps a necessary softening of sexual themes 

rarely discussed, in his time. This is combined with his habit of coining an 

obscure magical vocabulary, such as volancia, posism, and decretism, to 

explain the simplest of concepts - clear communication was not Randolph's 


But if we pare Randolph's convoluted rendering of the spurious 

Anseiratic mystery down to its basic elements, we are left with this: if a 

couple makes "a nuptive prayer", a strong, mutually agreed upon wish during 

mutual orgasm - the "nuptive moment" in Randolphian jargon - that desire 

will manifest in the phenomenal world. Randolph himself provided this 

simple formula: 
"The entire mystery can be given in very few words, and they are: An upper 
room; absolute personal, mental, and moral cleanliness both of the man and 

wife. An observance of the law just cited during the entire term of the 

experiment - 49 days. Formulate the desire and keep it in mind during the 

whole period and especially when making the nuptive prayer, (luring which 

no word may be spoken, but the thing desired be strongly thought." 


The couple who performed the "marital function" properly, Randolph 

claimed, could command powers that the reader will recognize as similar to 

those siddhis claimed by left-hand path Tantrikas. Empowered by the sacred 

properties imparted through the mutual orgasm, he or she could converse 

with disembodied beings of a higher order than man, practice telepathy with 

each other, read the mental projections of strangers, magically control the 

will of others, prepare and charge amulets for sorcery, attain supersensual 

visions, as well as manifesting the typical sorcerous goals of money and 


The key to Randolph's sex magic was the training of the will to 

remain unyielding and controlled, under all circumstances, especially the 

overwhelming "crisis" of orgasm. This discipline of the will during sexual 

climax was known as Volancia (from the French for "will."). This concept of 

the disciplined will during sexual ecstasy, which Randolph described as "the 

irresistible force of lightning, which ... does not tire" is much like the 

Buddhist left-hand path concept of the imperishable vajra thunderbolt that 

flashes during erotic illumination. In Mysteries OfEulis, from 1874, 

Randolph proclaimed the preeminence of Volancia in his system of sex 
magic with the grandiloquent formula "Will reigns Omnipotent; Love lieth at 

the Foundation." The similarity of this phrase to Aleister Crowley's much 
later magical formula "Love is the Law, Love under Will" is surely more than 


Indeed, it is hard to believe that the dominance of the will in 

Crowley's religion of Thelema is not derived directly from Randolph's earlier 

philosophy of Volancia. As we shall see, Crowley had a habit of presenting 

ideas appropriated from others as his own, without ever acknowledging his 

sources. Keep in mind that Crowley, a wealthy child of the Victorian Empire, 

shared many of the racial attitudes common to his class and era. It is unlikely 

that he would have credited the genesis of some of his most important ideas 

to Randolph, a man he would almost surely have designated as a "nigger." 

Randolph also pioneered another practice now commonly ascribed to 

Crowley; long before the Englishman's descent into narcotized disarray, his 

American predecessor wrote publicly of his magical experiments with 

hashish and ether. 

Once the sex magician has mastered his or her will during the sexual 

act, Randolph advises the cultivation of "decretism." This is the capacity to 

give one's self commands that will be followed without hesitation, in a state 

of confidence that these commands will transpire as formulated. "Posism" is 

a prescribed system of sexual positions resembling the Tantric asanas, which 

allow for different modes of electromagnetic force to be exchanged during 

the "spasm of love." Randolph characterizes the penis as the conveyor of a 

positive charge, while the vagina emits a negative force - a theory which 

concurs with the left-hand path model of bipolar energy transmission. Unique 
to Randolph is the notion that on the mental plane, these gender polarities are 


He explained that "while the phallus of the man is positively 

polarized and the kteis of the woman is negatively polarized, the head of the 

man, the organ of his mental manifestations is, to the contrary, negative and 

magnetic for rapport with the head of the woman which is positive and 

electric." Randolph's use of the Greek word kteis (vagina) foreshadows 

Crowley's later explanation that his spelling of "magick" with a "k" is a 

reference to the centrality of the kteis to his initiatory practice. 

Finally, the couple is directed to develop "tiroclerism" which seems 

to be a form of yogic visualization, permitting the adept to create clear mental 

images that become reality at the moment of mutual orgasm. "If," Randolph 

writes, "a man ardently wishes a force or power into being and guards this 

wish from the instant that he penetrates into the woman until the instant that 

he withdraws from her, his wish is necessarily fulfilled." As a beginning 

exercise in developing the inner fundamentals necessary to any erotic sorcery 

- the willed transmission of the adept's imagination into the daemonic realm, 

charged with sexual ecstasy - Randolph's system is an effective one. 

Although Randolph's formula for "nuptive prayer" was adopted, 

using different terminology, by such later sex magicians as O.T.O. founder 

Theodor Reuss and Crowley, their practice differed sharply from Randolph's 

in several important aspects. The most obvious of these distinctions is that 

Reuss and Crowley, both confirmed despisers of womankind, essentially 

used the female sex partner as a sort of necessary evil in their rites, poking 

their magic wands into her to bring about their own orgasm, but hardly 
viewing her as a coequal collaborator in the working. Randolph, however, 

insisted that the female partner's orgasm was a crucial factor in the 

culmination of the rite: "It is best for both man and wife to act together for 

the attainment of the mysterious objects sought." The female partner must 

possess "perfect sexive and orgasmal ability; for it requires a double crisis to 

succeed." Randolph's veneration of the female is partially in harmony with 

left-hand path Shakti puja. He states that "all force and powers arise from the 

womanhood of God." 

Considering all this, can we recognize in Paschal Beverly Randolph 

an adept of the sinister current? His "soul-sexivism" does bear many of the 

universal marks of the left-hand path: the divine nature of the feminine 

power; a bipolar positive/negative sexual energy transmitted by the male and 

female organisms; the attainment of maya-transforming magical siddhis 

through enhanced orgasm. His open practice of sex magic in the 

conservative, strait-laced culture of nineteenth century Boston was certainly a 

bold, even dangerous, defiance of orthodoxy. However, on closer analysis, 


Randolph's worldview - at least as expressed in his public writings - is far 

too accepting of social conventions and the norms of pashu morality to 

partake of the heroic, transgressive qualities that determine Varna Marga 

initiation in its highest mode of expression. 

For all of his daring, Randolph communicates an unmistakable 

puritanism in many of his sex-magical instructions that is not suited to the 

left-hand path's transcendence of social programming. For instance, he warns 

the couple that they must never experience "lust or pleasure" (luring the 

"sexive prayer", declaring that any "carnal passion" felt during ejaculation 

will be "suicide" for the male sex magician. This is rather reminiscent of the 

seventeenth-century Catholic injunction bidding copulating couples to 

procreate without "any sort of desire or pleasure" and makes for an unlikely 

recipe for the kind of extreme ecstasy required for magical consciousness 

alteration. And for all of the resemblance of Randolph's "womanhood of 

God" to the Shakti principle, he only reserves such reverence for those 

women who obey the dictates of conventional morality. 

"Success," Randolph wrote, "requires the adjuvancy of a superior 

woman. THIS IS THE LAW! A harlot or low woman is useless for all such 

lofty and holy purposes, and just so is a bad, impure, passion-driven apology 

for a man. The woman shall not be one who accepts rewards for compliance; 

nor a virgin; or under eighteen years of age; or another's wife." 

Contrast this with the previously described left-hand veneration of 

Shakti in all of her guises, including whore, adulterer, and virgin, all of 

whom are considered ideal sexual consorts for Varna Marga rites. Randolph's 

legacy to the Western sinister current is mixed; although he was a trailblazer 

in bringing the formerly secretive practice of sex magic out into the open, his 

initiation was incomplete. Randolph stopped short of confronting the night 

side of the sinister current. Many of his techniques were adopted into the 

latter-day cult of the Scarlet Woman, hut his vision lacked the chaotic power 

of the Whore of Babylon that is the driving force of the left-hand path in the 


There is a final puzzle piece to consider among the many that make 

up the life of P. R. Randolph. In 1931 a book entitled Magia Sexualis, 

attributed to Paschal Beverly Randolph, was published in Paris. Credited as 

having translated the work from English into French is Maria De Naglowska, 

the previously mentioned Satanic sex magician. Most of what is known of 
Randolph's sex-magical teaching derives from this work, and a translation of 
it into English printed almost forty years later in the United States. However, 
it is not at all clear whether Madame de Naglowska can truly be said to have 
merely translated Randolph's most famous book, or if she is in fact the actual 
authoress of the book. She may have written it under Randolph's name, based 
on her interpretation of some of his obscure pamphlets and documents from 


his Brotherhood of Eulis, interweaving her own theories into the text. 

The distinct possibility that the American pioneer sex magician's 

principal work was actually written in French decades after his death by a 

female Russian Satanist is only one of many of the peculiar mysteries the 

student of the Western sinister current must contend with. This connection of 

de Naglowska, who we will investigate later, with Randolph's influential sex 

magical writings, illuminates the previously neglected role that the distinctive 

but little-known Russian strain of the magical revival played in the 

development of the Western sinister current. Madame Blavatsky, one of the 

originators of the magical renaissance, was only the first of a series of 

Russian occultists who were important bridges between the Western and 

Eastern esoteric traditions. 

G.I. Gurdjieff And The Sexual Center 

I certainly have an aim of my own, but you must permit me to keep 

silent about it. — G.I. Gurdjieff to P.D. Ouspensky 

No analysis of the left-hand path in the West can ignore the teaching of the 

enigmatic Russian known as Georgei Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (1874 — 1949). 

Those who have studied Gurdjieff's system of spiritual awakening, 

alternately called the Fourth Way, the Way of the Sly Man, or simply the 

Work, without comparing it to earlier traditions, may be surprised to find him 

in the company of left-hand path sex magicians. But the similarities between 

Gurdjieff's system and that posited by the traditional left-hand path are 

unmistakable. Indeed, the Fourth Way appears to be a Tantra consciously 

adapted for modern Europeans, a condensation of the central left-hand path 

concepts, less most of the Eastern terminology. Gurdjieff himself made no 

claim to originality, acknowledging that he was merely the herald of a 

nameless ancient tradition to the West. This vaguely described teaching had 

supposedly been mastered by Gurdjieff during a period of wanderings in the 

East. In this, he was little different than his predecessor Madame Blavatsky, 

who also spoke cryptically of secret initiations conferred in Tibet, or the 

claim of Theodor Reuss that the secret sexual doctrine of his O.T.O. was 

conveyed by Eastern sages. 

If one eye-witness account, reported by Gurdjieff's disciple 

Maurice Nicoll, can he believed, at least one traditional practice of the 

Tibetan Buddhist branch of the left-hand path was known to Gurdjieff. 

Nicoll claimed that he once accidentally caught a glimpse of his teacher, 

who was unaware of being observed, murmuring to himself: "I am dordje, I 

am dordje. " Dorje is Tibetan for Vajra, the thunderbolt that descends from 

the celestial region to the earth (luring the sexual rites of the vajrayana. 
According to Tantra, he or she who becomes dorje or vajra has walked the 


left-hand path to reach a sovereign and indestructible state of being. This 

incident, if true, suggests that Gurdjieff privately incorporated left-hand path 

methods into his own self-initiation, even if he did not include such 

doctrines in his teaching to others. 

It has been suggested that Gurdjieff actually cobbled together his 

teaching from a simplified amalgamation of Tantric Buddhism learned in 

Tibetan monasteries and Sufi principles obtained through encounters with 

Islamic Dervish orders. Less glamorously, the Work might just as easily 

have adapted from occult books that would have available in the Russia of 

Gurdjieff's youth. Whatever the actual origin of the Fourth Way, even a brief 

outline of the most important elements reveals strong left-hand path 

Gurdjieff's most influential disciple, P. D. Ouspensky, when pressed 
to define his Master's chief lesson, summed it up succinctly: "Man is asleep. 
He must wake up." Gurdjieff's hypothesis that the natural state of humanity 
is a nearly comatose spiritual sleep, a listless daydream through which he or 
she moves mechanically, seems to reflect the Tantric left-hand path concept 

of Supta, or sleep. The adherents of the Fourth Way, in their difficult 

striving to wake up, are compelled to build up an unnatural "super-effort", a 

force within themselves which they utilize to counter the heavy weight of 

sleep. The Varna Marga adept is also taught to violently assault his or her 

slumber by all possible means, coming to that state of Awakening, or 

Bodhana, which we have already referred to. 

The left-hand path insists that awakening runs counter to the natural 

order of things, and even breaks the rule of the divine. Gurdjieff often stated 

that his Work of awakening was pitted "against nature, against God." Just as 

the Varna Marga instructs its initiates that awakening can only be 

accomplished through the physical body, rather than through the cerebral 

means favored by conventional religion, so did Gurdjieff push his followers, 

often effete intellectuals and artists, to exceed their physical limits as a form 

of liberation. For Gurdjieff, the Work was a matter of bringing "the seven 

centers of man," located in the body, into harmonious adjustment. This 

concept be almost certainly borrowed from the Tantric system of seven 

chakras, and under further analysis the activation of the "seven centers" 

appears to be Gurdjieffs version of Kundalini yoga. 

Gurdjieff placed special emphasis on the "sexual center" as the 

source of the energy that could eventually be directed toward the freeing 

from sleep and the activation of the "higher centers" of the body, which are 

dormant in most human beings. Here we encounter a modern reworking of 

the left-hand path notion that the powerful sexual energy unleashed in the 

lower chakras can pierce the higher chakras, ultimately opening the eye of 

Shiva, the symbol for divine consciousness. 


Although he never specifically described this process of creating a 

higher body by harmonizing the seven centers of man with the energy and 

substance of sex as Kundalini, direct references to the term are not absent in 

Gurdjieffs Work. In his simultaneously profound and unreadable gargantuan 

novel Beelzebub's Tales To His Grandson, Gurdjieff coins the typically 

Gurdjieffian term "Kundabuffer", This he describes as a sleep-inducing 

force of hypnosis and fantasy that prevents humans from awakening to a 

more vivid life in the real world. Of course, this is not completely dissonant 

with one left-hand path understanding of the Kundalini force. In its dormant, 

coiled serpent manifestation, Kundalini is thought to be the root cause of 

human delusion, exercising a spell of enchantment over the mind that can 

only be broken by awakening the serpent from slumber. 

Gurdjieff also maintained that human consciousness could never 

survive physical death unless the aspirant worked at creating a "higher 

body", a spiritual organism which appears to he the "subtle" or perhaps 

"causal" body of Tantric initiation - "the body of light" known to Gnostic 

libertines. The Varna Marga practitioner of Kundalini believes that the more 

enduring spiritual body within his or physical vessel is fed and energized by 

the sexual currents, and the internal build-up of the ojas, the force emanated 

by semen. With this arcane metaphysical physiology Gurdjieff is in accord 

on every point, declaring that "the substance with which sex works" is the 

fuel for the "higher body", that subtle organism which does not exist until it 

is created through the efforts of the awakened man or woman. To his inner 

circle of followers, Gurdjieff was more blunt; "the substance with which sex 

works," he admitted, "is semen." 

It was a substance Gurdjieff had no compunctions about sharing 

with his many adoring female disciples. Like a twentieth century 

reincarnation of the legendary left-hand path Tibetan "Divine Madman", 

Drugpa Kunley, Gurdjieff scandalized sedate esoteric circles of the 20s and 

30s by seducing followers by the score, and assuring them that relations with 

the Master were beneficial for their spiritual development. One of 

Gurdjieffs more astute biographers, James Webb, quotes one disciple as 

saying, "Gurdjieff used to take us girls into intimacy with him. It was his 

way of helping us." 

Considering how closely every other part of Gurdjieffs teaching 

resembles sinister current practice, it may be that he privately taught his 

admirers some form of sexual initiation. However, unlike his contemporary 
Crowley, Gurdjieff left behind no record documenting his many trysts. Any 
attempt to determine whether these were actually left-hand path sexual rites 
- as some have theorized - or were simply manifestations of a high libido 
exercising itself among a willing audience of spiritual groupies cannot be 
made with any certainty. Such erotic exploits inspired numerous rumors of 


"sexual black magic" to be associated with Gurdjieff, whispered innuendoes 

that his flamboyant behavior only exacerbated. Former lovers were said to 

have a penchant for killing themselves after the Master had slaked his 

fleshly appetite upon them, and more than one intimate student of 

Gurdjieff s suspected that she had been the subject of a lust spell. 

One interesting anecdote from 1933 suggests that Gurdjieff had 

gained proficiency in a practice associated with left-hand path sorcery, and 

indicates something of his libidinous reputation. At a party, Gurdjieff turned 

his gaze - frequently described as hypnotic - on his American pupil, the 

novelist Zona Gale, who was seated with a companion. They observed the 

notorious magus inhaling and exhaling in what seemed a deliberate, 

methodical manner. Gale blanched, stiffened, and upon resuming her 

composure reported (in the terminology of the Work) that Gurdjieffs 

peculiar attentions had "struck her right through her sexual center". The Sly 

Man had supposedly bestowed a remote-control orgasm upon her through 

his magical powers. Even though such tales must be taken with a grain of 

salt, they form an ineradicable part of Gurdjieffs legend. 

This feat recalls a mind control method practiced by Indian left-hand 

path adepts, who claim the ability to form a telepathic link with another 

person by carefully observing, and then imitating, his or her breath pattern. 

Attuning one's own breathing to another person's respiratory rhythm, with 

full mental focus, is said to allow the magician ingress to the unsuspecting 

consciousness of another, permitting willed control of that individual's mind. 

Through these means, death, healing, transmission of thought, or sexual 
excitement can theoretically be brought about from a distance. Of course, in 

the above-cited case of Gurdjieff and his student, we can't ignore the 
psychological factors establishing a pre-existing link between sorcerer and 
subject, an affinity which must surely ease the flow of such a transmission. 

Like Crowley, Gurdjieff was adamant in his opposition to any kind 

of contraceptives, perhaps a reflection of his belief in the magical properties 

of semen, and its purported role in the creation of a "higher body" Be that as 

it may, the Master's many dalliances with his disciples led to the creation of 

many illegitimate bodies of the usual physical type - whatever the nature of 

Gurdjieffs sexual relations with his students, he left behind him a throng of 

Gurdjieffian bastards and bastardettes. Although he has long since been cast 

in a saintly light by his latter-day followers, an essential part of Gurdjieffs 

personal teaching was the way in which he deliberately inverted the usual 

behavior expected in a spiritual teacher. His carefully embellished repute as a 

lecher was only one of his tactics. He seems to have gone out of his way to 
have been exceedingly difficult, temperamental and untrustworthy, and many 

a would-be adherent of the Fourth Way abandoned it out of sheer 
exasperation with the teacher's unfathomable - and sometimes infuriating - 



During the early part of his career as a professional enigma, Gurdjieff 

mortified one prospective pupil, a strait-laced and respectable military officer 

of the Russian aristocracy, by insisting that he meet him for the first time at a 

particularly seedy cafe frequented by prostitutes. The officer's first 

impression of his guru was of an unkempt, shady personage who greeted him 

with the disappointed complaint that "there are usually more whores here." 

Gurdjieffs disciple, J. G. Bennett, interpreted Gurdjieffs deliberately 

scandalous, often impossible behavior to be in keeping with the Sufi practice 

of malamat (being blameworthy), in which the initiate adopts a mode of 

conduct that consciously alienates those around him, ruining the good 

reputation strived for by conventional citizens. The practice of malamat 

might very well have been learned by the young Gurdjieff through an 

encounter with the Malamti Sufi Order, an initiatory body founded in the 

eighth century that has exercised a powerful underground influence upon the 

magical tradition. 

Such systematic ruination of one's standing in society is of course 

also a standard practice of advanced left-hand path adepts, whose god-like 

contempt for the slave values of the pashu manifest in extreme rejection of 

all of the props of mass-approved comportment. If Gurdjieff did not go quite 

as far as the Aghori in this radical detachment from that being he disdainfully 

referred to as "the normal man", his actions seem to have served the same 
initiatory purposes, for him, and for those willing victims he entangled in his 


There is one frequently ignored detail in Gurdjieffs life that places 

his often puzzling behavior in an illuminating context. It seems fairly certain 

that Gurdjieffs own restless trek through Tibet and possible contact to the 

court of the Dalai Lama was made whilst in the service of the Tsarist 

intelligence service, lie seems to have carried out this assignment under the 

convenient guise of a spiritual seeker, and may well have continued his 

intelligence work for other nations after the Bolshevik revolution. 

Gurdjieffs withering contempt for politics, patriotism and government 

policy of any kind - which often dismayed his more idealistic disciples - 

was surely as informed by his experience as an undercover operative who 

had been privy to the behind-the-scenes operations of the world, as by any 

metaphysical understanding. Thus Gurdjieff could assume the seemingly 

contradictory roles of Tsarist spy and minor Nazi collaborator, among many 

others, with little hand-wringing over conventional ethics. 

Was this stance simply Gurdjieffs mystical rationalization for 

indulging a generally roguish character? lie never explained directly, but his 

life-long pattern of creating elaborate initiatory crises and traumas for his 

disciples, sexual or otherwise, thus forcing them to think for themselves or 

fail in the attempt, seems clear enough. Although it can be argued that 


Crowley's similar courting of scandal and public infamy may have served 

the same purpose, one gets the impression that Gurdjieff was much more 

controlled and premeditated in applying this strategy. Like the medieval lefthand 

path Master Drugpa Kunley, Gurdjieff sought to awaken his pupils 

through shock treatment, disillusioning them as harshly as possible. 

Gurdjieff biographer James Webb describes the one recorded 

meeting of Gurdjieff and Crowley; based on what he claims are first-hand 

reports. (Lawrence Sutin, in his Do What Thou Wilt: A Life OfAleister 

Crowley casts some doubt on this account.) If the encounter occurred as 

described, it can be interpreted as meaning that either Gurdjieff sensed an 

essential hollowness at the core of Crowley's persona, or merely felt that he 

had to place any likely competitor in the Western guru game in his place. 

After Crowley spent a fairly innocuous weekend at Gurdjieffs Institute for 

the Harmonious Development of Man in Fountainbleau, Gurdjieff allegedly 

turned upon his infamous guest and treated him to a furious public 
denunciation. "You are filthy, all dirty inside. You never come in my house 
again!", Gurdjieff shouted at the Great Beast 666, whom according to some 

eyewitnesses at the meeting of mages, skulked off in a rare state of 

embarrassment. Considering that Gurdjieff declared that one of his missions 

in the West was the eradication of occultism and the delusions it excites, it 

may be that he saw the arch-occultist Crowley as a prime target. 

Gurdjieffs system grants none of the special importance to the 

Feminine Daemonic that characterizes the left-hand path; in fact, although 
many women were charmed by him, he was often described as the epitome 
of the overbearing macho patriarch. His ebullient promiscuity alone, despite 

certain suggestions of erotic-esoteric energy transfer, certainly doesn't 
qualify him as a left-hand path adept. However, there are enough indications 
of a Tibetan Tantric influence in his life and thought to cause us to wonder if 
he did not view his many female consorts as Songyums, or "secret mothers", 

in keeping with the covert practice of sexual initiation within left-handed 

Buddhism. Gurdjieff, ever the Sly Man, left only hints; whatever the motive 

force of his teaching was, it was largely communicated privately and in 

terms that suited each individual student. 

Rasputin And The Holiness Of Sin 

In considering the existence of a Slavic left-hand path, as suggested by such 

figures as Naglowska and Gurdjieff, the almost legendary sex-mystical 

exploits of Grigori Yefimovich (1862 — 1916) are worthy of a brief 

contemplation. For all of his notoriety, Yefimovich, far better known by his 

nickname of Rasputin (derived from the Russian word for "dissolute" or 

"lewd") has had surprisingly little influence on the sex magical tradition of 

the West. But the heretical Christian and heathen synthesis of erotic 


illumination engaged in by Rasputin and his female followers makes for an 

excellent example of the universality of left-hand path principles. 

A great deal of foolishness has previously been written concerning 

Rasputin, who has been caricaturized as a Satanic mad monk. The "Satanic" 

charge has not the least basis in fact, and is simply based on his sinister 

reputation. Far from mad, Rasputin appears to have been a canny if 

uneducated observer of human nature, whose disreputable religious practices 

were in striking contrast to an otherwise calm and serious demeanor. And he 

was never a monk by any means; he spent all of three months on a spiritual 

retreat at a monastery, but never sought or claimed holy orders. Rather, he 

was considered by his admirers to he a starets, a wandering "holy man", due 

to his reputation for possessing mysterious powers of healing and second 
sight, which can he described as magical in nature. Rasputin's possession of 
magical siddhi was sincerely attested to by the adoring women in his circle, 

one of whom was the Tsarina Alexandra, Empress of all the Russias, for 

whom all types of occultism had long been an abiding interest. The strange 

circumstances of Rasputin's death have only contributed to the enduring 

legend of his uncanny powers. 

Rasputin's crude if energetic methods of sexual initiation were not 

his invention; they were adapted fairly faithfully from his contact with a 

Russian pseudo-Gnostic sect popularly known as the Khlysti, or 

"flagellators." Although the Khlysti never attained anything like the complex 

philosophical and esoteric body of wisdom known to Tantra, there are many 

similarities between their rites and those of the Varna Marga. Both 

techniques utilize copulation as a process of self-deification. The moment of 

supreme sexual ecstasy enjoyed by the Khlysti couple leads not to identity 

with Shiva/Shakti but to the male's mutation of his mortal consciousness into 

the Christ, while the female is transformed into the Virgin Mary. This act of 

spiritual incest between deified humans also recalls the agape practiced by 

libertine Gnostics, in which the male is mystically transformed into Christ, 

and his consort becomes the Sophia. As with the libertine Gnostics, the 

Khlysti interpret the mystery of sexual illumination as the spiritual descent of 

the holy ghost into the physical body. 

Initiates of the Khlysti, usually located in rural Russia, feigned 

devotion to the Russian Orthodox Church during the day, waiting until their 

clandestine nocturnal gatherings had commenced to practice their true 

religion. Just as the sexual evocation of Shakti in India's secret rite is 

traditionally carried out in an abandoned place at midnight, the witching hour 

is also the preferred time in which to begin the Khlysti orgy The circle of the 

Indian chakra puja orgy is recalled in the frenzied circular dance that begins 

the Khlysti rite. Similar to some Dervish dance rituals, the whirling Khlysti 

dance was used as a means of altering consciousness, and at its frenetic 

zenith, the participants flagellated each other's bodies to heighten their 


ecstatic states. When the somatic energy had been brought to the desired 

level, the gathered couples spontaneously undressed and paired off to 

celebrate the prolonged orgiastic phase of the Working. And as in the chakra 

puja, one of the female Khlysti served as the temporary avatar of feminine 

power. One of the orgiasts was selected to be the incarnation of the Virgin 

Mary, and was venerated in her ritual nakedness. The pre-Christian origin of 

the sect is made obvious in the fact that the "Virgin" is also considered to be 

"Mother Earth"; the Feminine Daemonic Shakti power that clearly places the 

orgy under the aegis of the left. Rasputin has been reported as telling his 

disciples that he first learned the "blessed secret" of "sanctification through 

sin" through some sort of tutelary communication conveyed through the 

voice of "holy Mother Earth." 

The starets taught his congregation, which at first consisted of 

gypsies and peasants in his native Siberia - but from 1903 — 1916, extended 

to the society ladies of St. Petersburg and Moscow - that to he truly 

redeemed of sin, one must sin thoroughly. To this end, Rasputin led his 

refined adherents in modified recreations of the Khlysti orgiastic revels that 

have since taken on mythological proportions. The surviving evidence seems 

to indicate that Rasputin's prolonged bouts of frenetic dance and sexual 

abandon were also intended to create a unique heightened state of 

consciousness, a mystical apotheosis of initiatory death through orgasm that 

is similar to Varna Marga practice. Crowley's attempts to sexually exhaust 

himself and his lovers into a death-like state of visionary "eroto-comatose 

lucidity" seems comparable. 

This Rasputinesque use of extreme sexual ecstasy was primarily a 

means of provoking inner death of the false persona and rebirth into a more 

illuminated psychic condition However, the women who submitted to 

Rasputin's erotic spell often reported relinquishing consciousness altogether 

during the trance of repeated orgasm, which would seem to he the opposite of 

the increased Awakening of the psyche usually aimed for in left-hand path 

rites. Rasputin's aim of inverting established religious norms through sexual 

taboo-breaking and proclaiming the sinful to be sacred is a clear 

manifestation of the sinister current, another of those atavistic resurgences of 

the hidden left-hand path of Christianity. Ironically, despite the nominally 

Christian essence of Rasputin's approach to erotic initiation, the only 

manifestation of Western sex magic he seems to have affected was the 

Luciferian sex magician Maria de Naglowska. 

Maria de Naglowska - A Satanic Sophia 

Despite the centrality of the female sexual initiatrix - whether she be known 

as Shakti or Sophia - to left-hand path erotic awakening, it was not until the 

twentieth century that a female sex-magical teacher openly emerged in the 


West. Her teaching, which she clearly identified as being Satanic in nature, 

reveals definite parallels with the authentic left-hand path. Almost unknown 

in the Anglo-Saxon world, she was the Russian-born Maria de Naglowska 

(1883 — 1936), who established a flourishing school of Satanic sex magic in 

the Paris of the 1930s. As a sex-magical teaching that has no connection at all 

to the lineage of O.T.O. and Crowleyan practices familiar to Englishspeaking 

magicians, the unique approach to erotic initiation devised by this 

remarkable adventuress has been unjustly ignored. 

De Naglowska, the daughter of a high-ranking Tsarist military officer 

who was assassinated by a nihilist anarchist, was orphaned at an early age. 

After her education, she became involved in a bohemian milieu of artists, 

writers and occultists, swept up in the revolutionary fervor of 1905 Russia. 

Like many spiritually inclined aristocratic Russian women of her generation, 

she knew Rasputin, whose sex-mystical ministry seems to have influenced 

some elements of her own messianic religion. (In 1931, Naglowska translated 

a biography of the holy man, Raspoutine, by the Russian author Simanovitch, 

into French.) Russia had long been home to many thriving Slavic Satanic 

sects, and de Naglowska may also have established contact with some of 

these as a prelude to her own diabolical school. 

Exiled in Rome after the revolution, she became involved in the 

esoteric community there, a period which included a dalliance - both spiritual 

and carnal - with the Traditionalist magician Julius Evola. It was also in Italy 

that Naglowska encountered a mysterious Russian teacher from the 
Caucasus, who she later implied was a major source of her own sex-magical 

doctrine. Making her living as a journalist, she was often suspected of 

espionage, in the shady occult tradition of Dee, Reuss, Gurdjieff and Parsons. 

Her travels brought her as far as Alexandria, Egypt, where she became 

involved with the local branch of the Theosophical Society. Despite her 

marriage to a Zionist activist, who eventually abandoned her and their three 

children for Palestine, Naglowska reputedly pursued her lively sexual 

appetite with enthusiasm. Notwithstanding her notoriety as a free spirit and 

habitue of the international occult movement of her time, she did not really 

come to prominence until her arrival in Paris between the World Wars. 

If previous European Satanic circles had sought to carry on their 

activities in secret, Naglowska positively courted the attention of the French 

press, as well as writing several books and pamphlets which made explicit 

her instructions for diabolically inspired erotic illumination. Despite her 

forthright glorification for what she termed "the unspeakable happiness of 

Satanic pleasure" in her 1932 Le Rite Sacre de V Amour Magique (The Sacred 

Rite Of Magical Love), it is interesting that de Naglowska aroused none of 

the outraged and prurient scandal her contemporary Crowley - who had been 

reduced to near-pariah status by the British press only a few years earlier - 

had provoked. Indeed, one newspaper account of de Naglowska's 


consecration of sex-magically trained women at her seminary, La Fleche 

d'Or (The Golden Arrow) good-naturedly characterizes it as an "interesting 

religious experiment." Far from supervising a secret society, Naglowska 
held fairly open rituals of Satanic sex magic, to which the interested public 

were invited for initiation into the school. 

In her temple, a converted hotel located in the fashionable 

Montparnasse district of Paris, she regularly presided over a rite she called 


"the Golden Mass" in which as many as twenty copulating couples formed 

a "magical chain" very much like the highly disciplined chakra-puja circle 

orgies of Tantra. The sexual current generated by this group activation of 

erotic energy was often directed to the magical destruction of enemies, but 

unlike other Satanists, de Naglowska also used group "diabolical 

operations" to heal ailing members of her group. The idea of sex magic 

performed to the glory of Lucifer might inspire thoughts of wild, 

unrestrained orgies, but Naglowska's group sex operations were actually 

precisely choreographed and controlled rites. A meditative dance, similar to 

eurhythmies and the movements which Gurdjieff taught his students, were a 

major part of these Golden Masses, and preceded the sexual phase of the 


Naglowska's insistence that her infernal form of sex-mystical 

transformation could only be communicated through the agency of ritual 

copulation with "an adequately trained woman" demonstrates the 

importance of the Feminine Daemonic to her discipline. This trained 

sorority may be considered to fulfill the function of shaktis within the 

Naglowska branch of the sinister current. Naglowska herself was known by 

her followers as "the Sophia of Montparnasse", in a reference to the Gnostic 

feminine principle said to impart the gnosis. Her female acolytes were also 

known as Sophiales, presented as the vanguard of a "new matriarchy". 

In the imminent Utopia Naglowska proposed, all 17 year old girls 

would be consecrated as sex-magical Sophiales in special training institutes. 

This consecration she thought necessary to balance the disturbed 

equilibrium between male and female polarities, which she theorized was 

the root cause of the world's ills. Thus, sex magic was seen to exercise not 

only a personal initiatory transformation on the couples who practiced it, 

but a much larger social effect. (Naglowska's hypothesis that unsatisfying 

sex and imbalance of the genders created social catastrophe bears some 

similarities with the psychologist Wilhelm Reich's ideas, although he would 

certainly have rejected any mystical or Satanic overlay) 

The world-changing force, according to Naglowska, was "feminine 

power", which she believed would emanate from a new kind of spiritually 

and sexually advanced woman, "la sagesse" - the wise woman. Far from the 

usual lascivious cliche of what a Satanic woman might be, Naglowska 

described her ideal female "initiatrix" as a "pure woman ... who does not 

tolerate perverse vibrations." In this regard, Naglowska seems to he 

influenced by her reading of the earlier writings of P. B Randolph, and their 

insistence that sex magic should never be performed with a "harlot or low 


Naglowska maintained that the Sophiales, among whose number we 

must presume she included herself, embodied physical gateways to selfdeification 

for their male partners. As in the traditional Varna Marga, the 


female is the deified priestess in the Naglowska cult. She sexually 

communicates a potentially dangerous esoteric power to the male, a power 

that cannot be confronted and sustained by anything less than a heroic 

disposition. For Naglowska, the end liberation of this sexual operation was 

not the deliberate obliteration of the self into nirvana that some Eastern lefthand 

path adepts seek, On the contrary, the Naglowskan disciple was led 

along the more radical way of the sinister current, the riding of the tiger of 

sexual ecstasy to rebirth as a "kingly man", a god-like daemon. The profane 

sexual act, which usually binds a couple more deeply to nature and 
mortality, is here used to blast their psyches into a non-natural state of being. 

Naglowska's Satanic sex-magical Utopia was known as the Third 

Term of the Trinity (TTT to her disciples), which was conceived in Aeonic 

terms as a new world-age which would radically change the spiritual and 

sexual nature of mankind, constituting an evolutionary transformation. The 

High Priestess of this coming age taught her acolytes that the first two 

"terms" had been Judaism, the age of the Father, and Christianity, the age of 

the Son. In the impending Third Term, which she identified as the age of the 

Mother, Naglowska wrote, "sex [with the wise women] will confer the 

luminous knowledge of LUCIFER and SATAN regenerated." Naglowska 

did not envision her Third Era of the Mother as a dark age of doom, but the 

concept of a spiritual age ruled by the leftwards Shakti power of Woman and 

the previously reviled powers of Satan/Lucifer can be seen as a Western 

form of the Kali-Yuga. 

Surely the most controversial ritual in de Naglowska's complicated 

liturgy was the Trial of Hanging, in which male adepts were sexually 

stimulated, then voluntarily hanged until they passed out in a state of 

controlled semi-asphyxia. When the male sex magician hovered in psychic 

limbo, in a state de Naglowska described as "above all delights," one of her 

personally initiated female adherents would position herself on his asphyxiainduced 

erection. The ligature around his throat would then be released, and 

as he came back to consciousness, he would experience what de Naglowska 

describes in her The Light Of Sex: Ritual Of Satanic Initiation as "the 

explosive penetration of the resplendent woman at the sublime moment of 

holy coitus." (Now, kids, don't try this at home.) 

This ordeal required that the male not ejaculate, retaining his semen 

for the same purposes of spiritual energy containment taught by some 

Tantrics. The adept who survived this procedure was transformed, in de 

Naglowska's words, into "the sublime madman of the secret doctrines ... a 

new man." Exactly which secret doctrines she refers to is not explained, 

which unfortunately typifies de Naglowska's often fanciful and deliberately 

vague style. 
The Trial of Hanging appears to be a sacralization of the fairly common 


sexual fetish of autoerotic asphyxia. The mostly male devotees of this not 

infrequently fatal practice masturbate while hanging themselves, aiming to 

maximize the intensity of orgasmic bliss by timing climax to occur at the 

moment of altered state of consciousness created immediately before 

blackout. The Trial of Hanging as practiced by de Naglowska's Satanists 

was the enactment of a complex cycle of sex-magical initiation thats 

ultimate goal was the recreation of the magician into a "Messiah," an erotic 

form of self-deification congruent with left-hand path objectives. Some of 

the magical theory informing the Trial of Hanging was explained by 
Naglowska in her 1934 booklet The Mystery Of Hanging: Satanic Initiation 

According To The Doctrine Of The Third Term Of The Trinity. But the 
memoirs of her students make it clear that the true gist of her sexual teaching 

was communicated only in private audience. 

By all accounts, the Golden Arrow was, at its core, a personality cult 

dedicated to personal allegiance to De Naglowska herself, who as High 

Priestess of the Temple of the Third Term of the Trinity, was the sole 

authority in doctrinal and ritual matters. In one of the oaths taken by her 

male initiates, who were ordained as "Knights of the Heart", the novice 

swore to be "an adept of Maria de Naglowska" and to "accept her doctrine of 

the Third Term of the Trinity" Her knights vowed a sacred oath, sealed by a 

drink from a chalice placed on the pubis of their High Priestess, that "I will 

research with my companions the erotic act of initiation, which transforms 

the heat in light, revealing LUCIFER in the Satanic shadows..." 

Naglowska's rather ambiguous understanding of Satan recalls some 

Gnostic heresies, which taught that Lucifer or Satanael were not entirely evil 

beings but indispensable companion forces which worked in tandem with 
Christ and Sophia to bring about gnosis. In one of her rituals, de Naglowska 
states that in the new spiritual age that she thought was dawning, "SATAN 
(negation), is momentarily reconciled with GOD ... the negative action of 
SATAN is absolutely necessary to GOD." Naglowska's theology, with its 
reconciliation of God and Satan, also foreshadows the teachings of Robert 

and Mary Aim DeGrimston, leaders of the 1960s Process Church of the 

Final Judgment, who held that "Soul and Body can be reunited by the Spirit 

of the Unity of Christ and Satan, within the Essence." 

At the end of 1935, at the age of 52, Naglowska surprised her 

followers by announcing that her mission in the world was over. An 

emotional farewell ceremony was held at her temple. To her inner circle, she 

elaborated further points of her obscure doctrine, encouraging them to carry 

on the preparation for the Third Term of the Trinity. She died the next year 

in Switzerland, a passage interpreted by her more credulous disciples as a 

sign that their High Priestess had the gift of prophecy; others have 
speculated that she had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Although 


some Naglowskan initiates haphazardly attempted to carry on the orgiastic 

circles and the acts of sexual regeneration with the Sophiales, like most 

personality cults, the Golden Arrow could not survive without its 

charismatic founder. Reverence for their teacher was so profound that none 

of the consecrated women she had trained were prepared to take over as the 

Fleche D'or leader, which did not bode well for her hopes of a new 

matriarchy. A short-lived successor group, Christ-Roi (Christ-King), 

continued performing the Trial of Hanging, claiming to be under 
Naglowska's spiritual supervision from the other world, but eventually 


Naglowska's sex-magical approach to exaltation of Luciferian 

principles has not been influential in magical circles generally. Very few 

modern Satanic groups have followed her lead in using sex for spiritual 

purposes, although the Trial of Hanging was adapted by one modern 

Western left-hand path Order in the 1980s. Her complicated vision of 

religious utopianism based on the ascent of the "wise woman" is probably 

too dogmatic to be very adaptable to other magical belief systems, and her 

many books and pamphlets have hardly been read outside of France in the 

1930s. Naglowskan sex magic's most dramatic affect seems to have been 

upon some of the many literary figures and intellectuals who were disciples 

and lovers of this striking personality in Rome or Paris. In particular, three 

of the men who had encountered the gnosis of the Satanic Sophia went on to 

chart unexplored regions of erotic mysticism that touched directly upon the 

live wire of the sinister current. 



The Naglowska Circle 

One of the curious who were drawn to the Golden Masses held by the 

Fleche D'Or was the French author Georges Bataille (1897-1962), whose 

potent fiction and philosophical essays point the way to the sacred 

pornography we mentioned in the introduction to this book. Naglowska, 

with her rather wholesome approach to Satanic sex, and her desire to avoid 

"perverse vibrations" would probably not have approved at all of the 

direction Bataille took. In his lascivious novella The Story Of The Eye 

(1928), which sometimes borders on the concerns of traditional Satanism, a 

defrocked Catholic priest is initiated into the left-hand path mysteries of 

eros, death, and transgression of the sacred. Ritually raped, forced into 

sacrilege against a transubstantiated Eucharist host and the wine that is 

Christ's blood, Bataille's priest is eventually subjected to necrophiliac 

indignities by an unholy trinity of debauched adolescents. 

In 1937, after his observation of de Naglowska's Golden Arrow, 

Bataille formed his own small magical secret society, known as Acephale, a 

name based on a self-created artificial deity called Acephalos (Greek for 

"Headless.") Although Bataille claimed to teach an "atheological" (godless) 

religion, it is interesting that the name of Bataille's Acephale group recalls a 

well-known Greco-Egyptian hermetic text, popularized by the Golden Dawn 

and Crowley, which invites the magus to declaim: "Thee, I invoke, 

Akephalou, [the headless one]." The headlessness Bataille referred to also 

indicated that his group was deliberately anarchic, without any fixed leader; 

an experimental attempt to dispose of the hierarchical structure that 

suppresses the freedom and spontaneity of so many magical groups. One of 

Acephale's plans, which never came to fruition, was to inspire one of its nine 

initiates to voluntarily serve as a sacrifice. Their objective was to reach a 
"limitless abandon", but the intensity that fueled this investigation into group 

dynamics proved short-lived. 

In 1938, Bataille turned his direction inward, attempting what he 

called "inner experiments" which he based on a study of Tantra, yoga, and 

Tibetan mysticism. He wrote that "the Tantrics use sexual pleasure not to 

lose themselves in it but as a kind of springboard," enthusiastically 

embracing this practice as a "black magic [which] has continued this 

tradition until the present day" Through these Tantra-based experiments, he 

realized what he described as "the identity of these perfect contraries, divine 

ecstasy and its opposite, extreme horror." Here we have a mystical crisis that 

the Aghori in the cremation grounds of India would have understood. 

In his essay Erotisme, Bataille states that "eroticism opens one to 

death; death opens up the negation of individual duration." This awareness 

of the initiatory power of the "little death" of orgasm can be likened to Varna 

Marga ritual juxtaposition of the macabre and the sexual. In Bataille's work, 

we frequently find an obsession with themes that we have already 
encountered in our explication of the more extreme frontiers of the Eastern 
left-hand path. He was fascinated with the etymology of the word "sacred" 
or sacer, which means defiled and holy at the same time; the importance of 
transgression and taboo-breaking in his work reflects the deliberate reversal 

of rites celebrated in the Varna Marga. Like the left-hand path adept, 

Bataille sought those numinous levels of consciousness he called "states of 

sovereignty" through delving into forbidden and rejected phenomena. "What 

I teach," Bataille declared, "is a drunkenness: I am not a philosopher, but a 

saint, perhaps a madman." One is reminded of Naglowska's claim that her 

sex magical procedures aimed to produce the "sublime madman of the secret 


Bataille's utilization of matter and the physical body as a medium of 

illumination also seems influenced by his pursuit of Tantra's left-hand path. 

His statement that "it is possible to identify as a leitmotif of gnosis the 

conception of matter as an active principle," is attuned to the Tantric concept 

of the Shakti force - which is the visible world - as the active energy in the 


Bataille's mystical appreciation of the Feminine Daemonic often 

focused on a fascination with the whore as sacred icon, a theme he held in 

common with the cult of the Scarlet Woman, from its roots in Sumerian 

sacred prostitution to the modern magical veneration of Babalon. Always 

eager to cast a deliberate pall of irreverence on his work, he once described 

his method of philosophy as being akin to the leasing art of a prostitute 

undressing. In his erotic tale Madame Edwarda, Bataille describes a drunken 

male patron of a bordello who is forcefully confronted with shakti power. 

Madame Edwarda reveals her vulva to him "so you can see that I am God." 

When she compels him to perform cunnilingus on her, Bataille's character 

confesses reverently: "I then knew - once every trace of drunkenness in me 

had worn off - that She had not lied, that She was God." This is essentially a 

modernized restatement of the yoni-puja of the left-hand path secret rite. 

The influential Italian Traditionalist magician and philosopher, Baron 

Julius Evola (1898 — 1974), had an affair with de Naglowska during her 

sojourn in Rome in the early days of the Mussolini period of the 1920s, and 

she translated a book of his poetry into French, Poeme A Qualre Voix, in 

1921. Commenting on Naglowska's teachings many years after her death, in 

his Melaphysics Of Sex, he made an interesting remark on one aspect of her 

theory of sexual enlightenment. According to Evola, the ritual copulation 

taught by Naglowska was celebrated "not in order to enter into the realm of 

death and becoming, but in order to leave that realm and maintain awareness 

of his own being instead of dissolving." Although he later rejected the 

Satanic aspect of her writings as a "deliberate intention to scandalize the 


reader," Evola did suggest that that de Naglowska may have developed her 

magical practice from contact with authentic "secret teachings." 

Evola maintained a life-long interest in sex magic, which seems to 

have been initiated by contact with an associate who was the only Italian 

student of Aleister Crowley's Abbey of Thelema in the 1920s. He formed his 

own magical circle in Rome, the Group of Ur, which experimented with 

some aspects of Tantra. His highly recommended works on Tantricism, 

which are at their best when describing the way of the left-hand path, are 

authoritative enough to have been published in India, something which rarely 

occurs with Western authors. It is difficult to say whether Evola was merely a 

brilliant esoteric theoretician and scholar or an actual practicing magus. Like 

Bataille, a key to Evola's thought is the attainment of a heroic sovereignty, 

the recreation of one's self as a "Kingly man," in the language of Naglowska's 

doctrine of the Third Term. Ultimately, Evola's austere hermetic approach to 

initiation is worlds apart from the somewhat romantic Luciferian sexuality of 

Naglowska, but the brief romance of these Western adepts of the sinister 
current is a fascinating footnote in the modern development of the left-hand 


One of the writers who came into Maria de Naglowska's orbit was the 

American journalist, author and erotic explorer William Seabrook. Of lesser 

intellectual stature than Evola and Bataille, Seabrook's specialty was the 

writing of rather sensational exposes of occult subjects. His better known 

books include The Magic Island, a pioneering study of Haitian Voodoo and 

the cult of the zombie, a subject which Naglowska has also studied, and 
Witchcraft: Its Power In The World Today, which provided pre-World War II 

Americans with some of the only knowledge of contemporary magical 

practice available. The prolific pornographic author Frank Harris introduced 

Seabrook to Aleister Crowley, who engaged Seabrook's wife as one of his 

sex-magical partners - with her husband's blessings. Seabrook shared with 

Crowley an absorbing interest in the use of bondage and sexual slavery as a 

magical technique. According to one of Crowley's final interviews, Seabrook 

"always traveled with a case-load of chains, being a masochist as well as a 


Upon seeking out the celebrated Naglowska's Satanic temple as a 

potentially juicy subject for one of his journalistic pieces, Seabrook 

discovered that some of his best liked fetishes - sexual suspension and erotic 

autoasphyxia - had been incorporated into the Sophiale's religious 

celebration of the Mystery of Hanging. Overall, however, one gets the 

impression that Seabrook was something of a dilettante, who ingratiated 

himself into magical circles in search of colorful copy, and whatever erotic 

diversion he might find along the way. Crowley acknowledged that 

Seabrook possessed "genius" but ultimately dismissed him as having "a 


journalist's mind." 

Fraternitas Saturni - Satana And Her Gnosis 

Naglowska's Fraternity of the Golden Arrow was not the only European 

Order in the 1920s and 1930s to fuse a form of sinister current sex magic 

and an idiosyncratic vision of Lucifer and Satan in its doctrine. Before we 

look into the impact of the far more well-known German sex magical school 

known as the O.T.O., a contemplation of its obscure semi-associate, 

Fraternitas Saturni, or Brotherhood of Saturn, will provide us with an 

intriguing example of how some of the sexual initiatory teachings of the 

Pastern Varna Marga were adapted by Western magicians. In the case of the 

Fraternitas Saturni, we have a uniquely Teutonic initiatory school thats 

influence has never successfully been transplanted into Anglo-American 


Since the nineteenth century, there had been a thoroughgoing 

fascination with all things Indian prevalent among the German intelligentsia. 

German and Austrian Indologists looked to India as the forgotten source of 

Teutonic civilization. For post-Nietzschean German intellectuals seeking to 

break with the Judaeo-Christian heritage they interpreted as an alien doctrine 

imposed by force upon Europe, the recently rediscovered Aryan mythology 

of India was enthusiastically embraced as the West's true spiritual 

fountainhead. This thread became a powerful impetus for German 

magicians, who were inspired to research Indian and Tibetan mysticism, and 

eventually came upon Tantra and its sexual left-hand path. (The swastika, 
more properly known in Sanskrit as the suvastika, an ancient symbol of Kali, 
was introduced into right-wing occult circles at this time.) It was this 
characteristic enchantment of the Fatherland with its distant sister, Mother 
India, that led directly to the incorporation of Varna Marga techniques into 
the Fraternitas Saturni. The left-hand path, utterly rejected as black magic 
by the largely Theosophically influenced occultists of colonialist England, 

found a receptive sanctuary in the secret operations of the FS. 
The FS was the brainchild of the Berlin bookseller Eugen Grosche (1888 — 
1965), who is better known by his magical name Gregor A. Gregorius, and 

whose books include Satanic Magic and the thinly fictionalized 

autobiographical novel Exorial: Story Of A Demonic Being. Gregorius led 

the lodge through various fractious and schisming mutations until his death 

in 1965. This turbulent life's work was interrupted by the National Socialist 

ban on magical lodges in the 1930s, which was promptly followed by a postwar 

Communist ban on occult activity in the East German state. 

Revered by many as one of Germany's few original magical minds 

in the twentieth century, second only to the influential Franz Bardon, 

Gregorius has also been dismissed by others as little more than a horny 



crackpot. The post- World War II O.T.O.'s nominal Head, Karl Germer, who 

maintained a life-long feud with Gregorius, once described him as "a sexmaniac, 

[who] dabbled in hypnosis and drugs - one of the lowest types of 

occultist I ever met." Considering the great respect in which Germer held 

Aleister Crowley, also a "sex-maniac" by any standard, and whose 

involvement with drugs went much further than mere dabbling, this opinion 

must be viewed with some skepticism. 

Originating from a schism with the Pansophical Lodge, one of the larger 

German occult bodies, the Fraternitas Saturni was founded in 1928 with a 

nucleus of about forty members. The initiates of the FS were not merely the 

marginal types customarily attracted to occult Orders; several German 

aristocrats and artists from the thriving Berlin film industry were also 

inducted. Gregorius created a complex and eclectic doctrine postulating the 

coming of a new astrologically determined Age of Saturn, related to the 

coining Age of Aquarius that occultists of every stripe had anticipated as the 

dawn of a new age. The Saturnian mysteries were communicated to the 

lodge through a graded hierarchy of basically Freemasonic degrees. 

Within the Saturnian liturgy, we find such seemingly unrelated 

Western themes as astrological and planetary magic, the exaltation of 

Lucifer, Gnosticism, the sexual evocation of demons, and pendulum magic 

mixed with Eastern notions such as the chakras, the doctrine of 

reincarnation, and some elements of Tantra. The FS student, who was 

referred to by the Sanskrit word chela, was methodically trained in 

meditation, visualization, mantric vocalization; Gregorius supervised a 

genuine school that actually taught a specific and rigorously conceived 

magical technology that expected objective results. 

The presiding spiritual entity in Saturnian theurgy was the eg r eg ore 

GOTOS, a daemonic being that held the same place in the FS as Baphomet 

once did among the Knights Templar. (Baphomet also plays a significant 

role in FS ritual.) This grab-bag of magical methods was expressed through 

a litany of scripted pseudo-Masonic rituals, which were performed by the 

formally robed Brothers and Sisters of Saturn in a converted temple located 

in the back of Gregorius's bookshop. However, individual work in solitude 

was of greater significance, since Gregorius believed that Saturnian 

initiation, which was based on "pitiless love", required the chela to be 

judged by the harsh spiritual tester Saturn, a merciless teacher who provided 

little comfort for his aspirants. 

Gregorius used his bookshop to give lectures to the public on such 

then-taboo topics as Vampirism and Blood Magic, and the esoteric 

significance of homosexuality. Even in the "anything goes" atmosphere of 

Weimar Berlin in the 1920s, all this led to the adhesion of a sinister, wild, 

and Satanic reputation to the FS. The Fraternitas Saturni had been 

conceived as a secret society, and for decades all that was publicly known of 

its rituals and beliefs was based on sensational rumor, centering especially 
on orgies, the ritual use of blood, and experimentation with hallucinogens 

for consciousness alteration. 

Despite the official position of secrecy maintained by the FS, the 

local newspaper Berliner Illustrierte Nachtausgabe revealed something of 

the controversial magical experiments of Gregor Gregorius in an October 

1929 article. Unwelcome scandal was generated when a female initiate of 

the FS was involved in a bus accident while under the influence of cocaine. 

If such shenanigans shocked the non-magical public, Gregorius's Fraternity 

was also viewed as anathema by the majority of German occultists, due to 

the friendly ties Gregorius sustained with Aleister Crowley, who was almost 

universally reviled among holier-than-thou esoteric circles in Germany. 
Although the FS technically adopted Crowley's Law of Thelema, the group's 

actual philosophy and practice in fact reflects very little Crowleyan 

influence. Crowley himself barely took interest in the activities of Gregorius, 

who was too independent to be the kind of idolatrous disciple the Great 

Beast preferred. Frau Martha Kuntzel, Crowley's most devoted German 

acolyte, whose dream was to bring the message of Crowley's The Book Of 

The Law to her other great hero, Adolf Hitler, did not approve of Gregorius 

either. She condemned Gregorius as a "Black Brother" - Crowleyan jargon 

for an evil walker of the left-hand path. In its very early days, the FS formed 

a magical axis with The Adonist Society, a sex magic study group that 

eventually went its own way to obscurity. 

The veil of secrecy under which Gregorius operated was not easily 

penetrated. What is known of the actual formal rituals and magical practices 

celebrated by the FS in the 1920s derives almost completely from the 

publication of private internal documents purchased from a Grand Master of 

the FS in the 1960s, and subsequently published in Germany in 1971 by Dr. 

Adolf Hemberger under the unwieldy title Organisationsformen, Rituale, 

Lehren Und Magische Thematik Der Freimauerischen Und 

Freimauerartigen Bilnde In Deutschen Sprachraum Mitteleuropas. Tell I: 

Der Mystisch-Magische Orden Fraternitas Saturni. These documents, which 

we recommend to those interested in a more detailed understanding of the 

FS, reveal that the Fraternitas Saturni is, in many ways, the twentieth 

century Western Order most attuned to the left-hand path as we have defined 


A system of Tantric viparit-karani, or opposite-doing, is 

demonstrated in the FS requirements that the initiate must push severely 

against his or her natural inclinations to cultivate those aspects of the self that 

instinct has left undeveloped. For instance, a born poet or artist would be 

compelled to pursue the scientific, rational side of herself, just as an engineer 

would need to discover the unexpressed romantic element of his psyche. 

Not the least aspect of this balancing of the light with the hidden dark 

side of one's being is the FS glorification of the figures of Lucifer and Satan, 
divine intelligences who informed Gregorius' applied sexual mysticism. The 

popular vulgarization of these concepts today might easily cause the 

contemporary reader to misinterpret Gregorius's Satanic teaching as simply 

the crude reversal of Judeo-Christianity that one encounters in post-1960s 

Satanism. But to paraphrase a comment once made by Gregorius' one-time 

associate, the Typhonian sex magician Kenneth Grant, with whom an alliance 
was formed in the 1950s, the Satan-Lucifer complex exalted in the FS was 

"ante-Christian" rather than "anti-Christian." In fact, the FS doctrine 

regarding Lucifer and Satan was a sophisticated religious concept with deep 

roots in pre-Christian Gnosticism, reflective especially of some of the Ophite 

Gnostic ideas we have discussed in Chapter Five. Gregorius taught his 

Saturnian brethren that the Edenic serpent which orthodox Christianity 

knows as Satan, who gave mankind the gift of gnosis, was really the Christ, 

while Lucifer was envisioned as a separate entity, a heroic/rebellious bringer 

of light in darkness. This Gnostic identity of Christ and Satan is a theme that 

curiously recurs throughout the history of the Western sinister current. 

The FS, at least in theory, operated along the elitist lines of the true 

left-hand path; Gregorius did not simply welcome all applicants to join with 

open arms. He wrote that his lodge was based on a deliberate "exclusion of 

base humanity" - a concept not unlike the rejection of the pashu from Varna 

Marga initiation. 

The left-hand path criterion of self-deification as practiced in the 

FS is demonstrated most dramatically in the rites aimed at comprehending 

the Light from Darkness - Lux e Tenebris - a paradoxical juxtaposition of 

opposites Gregorius called the Dark Light. Gregorius later wrote a novel, 

Das Dunkle Licht, expanding on this subject. Despite his apparent 

acceptance of much Hindu dogma, Gregorius rejected the commonly 

accepted notion that the aim of initiatory liberation was dissolution of the 

self - rather, he sought to continually perpetuate the human self as a selfdeified 


Lucifer was presented as the progenitor of humanity; Saturnian 

theology attributed the first primordial sexual act to Eve and Lucifer. 

Gregorius also recognized the importance of a Feminine Daemonic Shakti 

form of Satan, the female Satana, associated with the serpent of Eden. This 

not only recalls Gnostic teachings identifying Sophia as the snake in 
paradise who granted Eve the forbidden knowledge, but may be a Saturnian 

form of the feminine serpent force Kundalini, derived directly from 

Gregorius' study of Tantra. In one of the FS's most secretive sex magic rites, 

later published by Hemberger, the magician calls on "the power to awaken 

the ancient serpent," an obvious reference to the sleeping fire snake of 

Kundalini, that also suggests "that old serpent, called the Devil" of 


Revelations. Other expressions of left-hand path Shakti godheads in the 

Saturnian worldview included Sophia, Eve, and Lilith, all of them connected 

to the primordial myth of Eden, where the first gnosis was won. 

From this sexually tinged Luciferian/Satanic daemonology, we turn 

to the actual sex magical practices of the Brotherhood of Saturn, some of 

which were clearly adapted from the Indian left-hand path. Sexual magic, 

although important to the Gregorian system, was only one of the aspects of 

initiation that the Saturnian adept was led to master. Saturnian theory was 

centered on the willed and disciplined creation of a total man and woman. 

Initiation, according to Gregorius, did not encompass only the cerebral and 

spiritual centers; the physical body was also cultivated, a process that could 

not exclude the essential erotic sphere. Erotic initiation in its physical form 

was actually limited only to initiates of the Gradus Pentalphae (the 18°) of 

the Brotherhood's highly structured 33 degree system. It is strange that 

female chelas were not permitted to claim this particular grade, although 

they were certainly encouraged to participate in the sex magical rites 

associated with it. It must be said that the FS never entirely came to terms 

with the feminine principle. One detects a tinge of negativity associated with 

female sexuality in FS doctrine; even if woman's erotic force was considered 

to be of undeniable power for magic, it was also considered to be slightly 

suspect and dangerous. Thus, the "Daughter of Lilith", as the female sex 

partner is referred to in one FS rite, is accorded a rather ambiguous role in 

the lodge. 

Gregorius basically accepted the left-hand path metaphysical 

physiology of the subtle body, with its seven chakras, and its malepositive/ 

female-negative polarities. Female Saturnian initiates, of which 

there were relatively few at first, were taught that they were the incarnation 

of lunar energy, an idea that can be found both in Tantra and alchemy. To 

this traditional understanding of the esoteric aspect of femininity was added 

the Saturnian lesson that women were also the fleshly embodiment of 

Lucifer on earth. In keeping with hermetic and Tantric tradition, Gregorius 

claimed that men were solar in essence. The marriage of Sol and Luna in 

Saturnian sexual workings was not only focused on the initiatory 

development of the specific magicians involved. Like de Naglowska, 

Gregorius hoped that FS erotic-magical unions would harmonize the 

fundamental disturbance between the sexes that created inter-gender civil 

war in the profane world. Sexual magic, as Gregorius explained it, was 

based on the male chela discovering his anima, his "sister soul", who had 

taken the form of a female sex-magical partner, the Saturnian form of a 

Scarlet Woman. This process also enjoined the female chela to seek her 

"brother soul", the Jungian animus. 
Probably the best known aspect of FS sex magic was the consultation 


of the stars as a determinant for appropriate sexual positions and 

juxtaposition of erotic energies. Just to provide one example, a dominant 

lunar influence on a given day would recommend that a lesbian working of 

sex magic - the wedding of two lunar forces - would be the most effective. 

The rigid, formulaic nature of such astrologically dictated sex acts seems to 

us to be the least useful of the Saturnian sex magic teachings, but this 

practice is still prevalent, especially in Germany. 

The most direct influence of the Indian left-hand path tradition on the 

Fraternitas Saturni is the performance of the "Rite of the Five Ms", which 

despite its name actually bears little resemblance to the secret rite of the 

Panchatattva we have outlined in Chapter Three. From what can be gleaned 

from Hemberger's previously cited work, this rite was to be celebrated by one 

copulating couple, in a black-clad chamber hung with inverted pentagrams, a 

curious mixture of Eastern Tantra and Western Satanism unique to the FS 

aesthetic. The couple is charged to awaken the chakras through meditation, 

and to consume the traditional four taboo elemental elements of wine, meat, 

fish, and grain, sealed by the fifth etheric element of maithuna (sexual 

union.) The sexual position prescribed is essentially the Viparit-Karani, the 

female lowering her yoni upon the seated male's lingam. But the objective of 

the working is not the transcendent duality-surpassing state of consciousness 

sought by the Tantric of the left-hand path. Instead, the combined sexual 

energies are directed externally to the sorcerous creation of an elemental, 

theoretically brought to life by the post-coital trickling of semen and amrita 

from the woman's vagina on to a parchment inscribed with sigils symbolic of 

the daemon in question. 

This erotically engendered parenting of demons, actualized from 

within the bodies of the magicians, is almost always the purpose of 

Fraternitas Saturni sexual magic. The intense fascination Gregorius held for 

this theme is suggested by the name he bestowed upon his daughter, Alraune, 

born in 1914. She was christened after the title character of Hanns Heinz 

Ewers's popular 1911 occult novel Alraune, the tale of a homuculus-like 

femme fatale created through an alchemist's sinister experiments with semen 

and a mandrake root. 

Another FS rite of magical procreation, also designed for one couple 

to perform, calls for the male's activation of an entranced naked female's 

chakras, proceeded by coitus that "feeds" a charged talisman encoded with 

daemonic sigils. The 1920s-era FS, like most groups that include sex magic 

in their teaching, were often accused of celebrating orgies. No doubt they 

would have if conditions had allowed, but their chronic lack of female chelas 

limited their opportunities. The only ritual approximating group sex in their 

known liturgy is the notorious Gradus Pentalphae working, in which a 

copulating couple is encircled by the group energy of their 18° lodge 


brothers. The literal climax of the rite called for the blood of a. beheaded hen 

or rooster to be poured over the copulating pair, a sacrifice timed to occur 

just before the moment of the couple's orgasms. 

The Fraternitas Saturni tradition continues today in Germany, 

although its methods and terminology have evolved from the days of its 

inception in Weimar-era Berlin. Several conflicting groups claim to represent 

the true spirit of the FS, a chronic phenomenon in magical circles, which 

brings us inevitably to consideration of another Berlin-based sex-magical 


The O.T.O And The Phenomenon Of Occult 

Organizations: Decorated Cages 

The pioneering German-English sex magician Theodor Reuss, founder of the 

O.T.O. , and his contentious colleague Aleister Crowley, who was associated 

with Reuss's O.T.O. from 1912 — 1921, have been aggrandized into the stuff 

of occult folklore since the magical revival of the 1960s. In the process, the 

letters O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis) have become indelibly connected with 

popular ideas of Western sex magic. Consequently, the vexing topic of occult 

organizations in connection with the sinister current must be briefly 

addressed. For the past few decades, and even in Crowley's time, there has 

been a persistent controversy between various factions, each claiming to be 

the "real" and legitimate O.T.O., while denouncing all other claimants as 
impostors. This magical war, typical of the entire modern occult subculture's 
infighting, has long ago progressed from curses into prolonged legal battles, 
with bad blood all around. The ongoing strife between bickering camps is so 
characteristic of O.T.O. history that it often seems that the various claimants 
have spent more time waging judicial combat against each other in court than 
performing the erotic rites for which they have become notorious in the 

public mind. 

Since our concern will be limited to determining if the various 

O.T.O. (s) under Reuss, Crowley and their spiritual successors have 

relevance to left-hand path sex magic, we will largely ignore this endless 

struggle for legitimacy. In our estimation, such trivial squabbles have less 

than zero significance to the work of left-hand path initiation. Although we 

must admit that there is a certain irresistible potential for low comedy in the 

spectacle of respectable judges and attorneys hairsplitting over the burning 

issue of which competing Crowleyan sect has the legal right to confer the 

holy mysteries of sperm-and-blood wafers and anal sex upon its 


From our view, we should establish from the first that we personally 

see little value in the creaky Masonic apparatus of rigid grade system, 

hierarchical structure, reverence for sectarian holy writ, and scripted 


ceremony that has typified the O.T.O. from its inception sometime between 

1906 — 1912 to most (but not all) of its quibbling manifestations in the past 

century. Such inflexibility, coupled with the nearly necrophiliac cult of 

personality that has formed around the icon of Aleister Crowley in the 

majority of post-1947 branches of the O.T.O. seems extremely ill-suited for 

sinister current liberation. Which leads us to an important question 

concerning the Western occult organization phenomenon in general: can any 

formalized magical order convey the radical emancipatory power so 

essential to left-hand path initiation? 

The inconsistency of the search for ultimate and uncensored truth - 

the awakened understanding of maya - with the inevitable limitations of the 

group mentality were decisively addressed by the Indian philosopher Jiddu 

Krishnamurti. When only a child, Krishnamurti had been selected by the 

leaders of the Theosophical Society, then headquartered in India, to be 

groomed as the World Teacher, the long-awaited successor to the Buddha 

and the Christ. A large and prosperous organization known as the Order of 

the Star of the East was formed as a vehicle for his teaching. But at a 

congress of the OSE, held in Holland in 1929, Krishnamurti shocked his 

assembled followers by announcing that he was dissolving the Order he led, 

and renouncing the organizational principle as a means of guiding 

individuals to truth. Any magician considering the dilemma of the occult 

organization must be struck by these excerpts from his speech: 

"Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path 

whatsoever, cannot be organised; nor should any organisation be formed to 

lead or coerce people along any particular path. If you first understand that, 

then you will see how impossible it is to organise a belief. A belief is purely 

an individual matter, and you cannot and must not organise it. If you do, it 

becomes dead, crystallised; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be 

imposed on others ... If an organisation be created for this purpose, it 

becomes a crutch, a weakness, a bondage, and must cripple the individual, 

and prevent him from growing, from establishing his uniqueness, which lies 

in the discovery for himself of that absolute, unconditioned Truth. So that is 

another reason why I have decided, as I happen to be the Head of the Order, 

to dissolve it ... You use a typewriter to write letters, but you do not put it on 

an altar and worship it. But that is what you are doing when organisations 

become your chief concern. "How many members are there in it?" That is the 

first question 1 am asked by all newspaper reporters. "How many followers 

have you? By their number we shall judge whether what you say is true or 

false." I do not know how many there are. I am not concerned with that. If 

there were even one man who had been set free, that were enough.... Again, 

you have the idea that only certain people hold the key to the Kingdom of 

Happiness. No one holds it. No one has the authority to hold that key. That 
key is your own self, and in the development and the purification and in the 

incorruptibility of that self alone is the Kingdom of Eternity...." 

It should he mentioned that Krishnamurti was in no way an advocate of the 

left-hand path; indeed, he rejected all traditional esoteric terminology Yet his 

message is resonant with the liberatory passion of sinister current initiation. 

In the same speech, he asked his forsaken disciples not to follow him, but to 

ask themselves "in what way are you freer, greater, more dangerous to every 

society which is based on the false and the unessential?" And although he 

cast aside the restrictive organizational model of initiation, he did suggest 

that a "body" of awakened beings might work together informally as a 

genuine school without succumbing to the deadening, weakening effects he 

identified in a more fixed organization: "But those who really desire to 

understand, who are looking to find that which is eternal, without a beginning 

and without an end, will walk together with greater intensity, will be a danger 

to everything that is unessential, to unrealities, to shadows." Krishnamurti's 

emphasis on the inherently hazardous pursuit of banishing maya-like 

shadows from the mind correlates to the left-hand path adept's work. 

Finally, Krishnamurti left his Order of the Star of the East with these 

parting words: "You can form other organizations and expect someone else 

[to take on the role of World Teacher]. With that I am not concerned, nor 

with creating new cages, new decorations for those cages." This statement 

should be kept in mind as we outline the attempts of Reuss, Crowley and 

others to squeeze sex magic into an elaborate and unyielding pseudo-Masonic 

curriculum. The left-hand path initiate who dispassionately reviews the whole 

pageant of magical societies, clubs and fraternities that have marched through 

Western occult history from the nineteenth century to the present day will 
recognize the "new cages" and "new decorations for those cages" that pass by 

in such solemn but often ridiculous procession. 

In 1970, in an article in the Los Angeles Free Press, the novelist 

William S. Burroughs - who often turned to the theme of sex magic in his 

work - reported on his own brush with the phenomenon of the spiritual 

organization. After attending some courses provided by the Church of 

Scientology, Burroughs came to similar conclusions as Krishanmurti had 

concerning the ultimate futility of systematized group efforts at 

enlightenment. Although he acknowledged the usefulness of some 

Scientology techniques, Burroughs decided that "I am in flat disagreement 

with the organizational policy. No body of knowledge needs an 

organizational policy. Organizational policy can only impede the 

advancement of knowledge. There is a basic incompatibility between any 

organization and freedom of thought." Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, 


operating on the fringes of a Californian O.T.O. lodge in the 1940s actually 

played a significant role in establishing the sex-magical cult of the Scarlet 

Woman, a curious tale we shall return to later. 

To untangle the whole intricate history of the diverse groups that have 

called themselves O.T.O. over the past century or so would tell us much 

about the kind of human folly of which Krishnamurti spoke, but very little 

about left-hand path sex magic. Those interested in a comprehensive account 

of the O.T.O. story are directed to the authoritative work of Peter-R. Koenig. 

However, a few clarifications are in order. The O.T.O. has been 
described falsely by some unreliable journalists and authors as a vehicle for 

Satanic orgies; in fact, it is more accurate to say that their practice of sex 

magic is along the lines of Gnostic Christianity, as interpreted by its founder 

Reuss and then elaborated upon by Crowley. Those that have looked into the 

phenomenon a little more deeply may have learned that the O.T.O. can trace 

its lineage directly hack to the Knights Templar and Illuminati. You might 

also discover that the lost secret wisdom of these legendary Orders is still 

authentically preserved within the O.T.O. Furthermore, it has been said, the 

sexual secret taught to the highest degrees of the O.T.O. was communicated 

by a trio of Eastern wise men, two yogis and a fakir. None of these things are 


Get past the most persistent layer of fictions concerning the O.T.O., 

and one uncovers another layer concealed beneath. There, one might discover 

that the founding father of the O.T.O. was one of Austria's wealthiest and 

most respected industrialists, the leading Freemason and Theosophist, Dr. 

Carl Kellner. According to this tale, Kellner co-founded the Order with 

another prominent Theosophist, Dr. Franz Hartmann, a close associate of 

Madame Blavatsky. They were soon joined in the Order by the celebrated 

creator of Anthrosophy, Rudolf Steiner. If true, this would have been an 

impressive pedigree; few magical Orders could claim such eminent men as 

patrons. But in fact, Kellner and Hartmann were both dead before their names 

were associated with the supposed founding of the O.T.O, and all evidence 

suggests that they had nothing at all to do with the O.T.O. in any capacity. 

Rudolf Steiner's marginal connection to the O.T.O. is based on the most 

tenuous of circumstances. 

In exploring the O.T.O, one is reminded of the scene in The Wizard 

OfOz in which the Wizard is revealed as a shabby puppeteer manipulating the 

hidden gears which create the illusion of the wondrous magical land of Oz. 

When caught in the act, the Wizard, desperately cries, "Pay no attention to 

that man behind the curtain!" The "Wizard" behind the curtain of the O.T.O 

was the Anglo-German Theodor Reuss (1855-1923), who set in motion a 

long-lived charade that many others have perpetuated over the decades. 

Some, like Aleister Crowley, have embellished the myth Reuss created for 

their own cynical purposes. Others were sincerely hut naively swept up in the 

mystique and a deep need to believe in it all. 

From his first announcement of the O.T.O. to his death, Reuss 

contended that he was only the second head of the Ordo Templi Orientis, 

and that he had inherited the Order from the real founder, supposedly Dr. 

Carl Kellner, upon the latter's 1905 death. This fable has led many authors to 

follow the false lead of trying to establish Kellner as the mastermind of the 

0.1.0., while ignoring Reuss as merely a secondary player. In fact, the 

O.T.O. was solely the brainchild of Theodor Willson Reuss, and it is to him 

we must turn to begin to make sense of the O.T.O. 's influence on Western 

sex magic. 

Theodor Reuss And The Sexual Religion Of The Future 

Reuss was primarily known in his day as a ceaselessly scheming small-time 

occult swindler scrabbling together an erratic living by selling questionable 

charters for quasi-Masonic Orders. Like many figures in the occult revival of 

the time, Reuss was an on-again off-again player in the shadow world of 

intelligence. His Anglo-German ancestry allowed him to move easily 

between two worlds. While working for the German Secret Service in 

London, he is said to have infiltrated the Socialist League, where he 

befriended Karl Marx's daughter Eleanor. Originally trained as a chemist, 

Reuss also acquired a professional singing voice, performing the gamut from 

Wagnerian opera to British music-halls. Bilingual, he wrote for a wide 

variety of English and German newspapers and magazines. But these 

worldly occupations all took a back seat to Reuss's life-long metier: the 

tireless founding of pseudo-Masonic Orders. 

Reuss was the self-appointed head of many impressive-sounding 

institutions, the existence of which rarely extended beyond printing suitably 

imposing stationery on which to send out bombastic decrees. In contrast to 

the freewheeling magical subculture of today, in which one-man occult 

societies are founded at the blink of a website, the majority of magical 

activity in the early part of the twentieth century was deeply embedded in 

the stuffy formalities and inflexible apparatus of Freemasonry. It was a 

world of grand titles, secret passwords and handshakes, solemnly conferred 

degrees, and elaborate scripted ceremonies, all performed whilst garbed in 

extravagant uniform seemingly on loan from an opera house's wardrobe. 

The Masonic-magical community of the early twentieth century 

from which the O.T.O developed was strictly an old boy's club. One of 

Reuss' innovations was to allow women full membership in some of his 

Orders, which of course would have been a necessity for the sex-magical 

pursuits of O.T.O. 
A full account of Reuss's adventures in quasi-Masonry would take 


us far afield from our search for a Western left-hand path. But to understand 

something of the background from which O.T.O. emerged, it's sufficient to 

know that by 1902 Reuss was claiming full authority in Germany over 

several irregular Masonic Rites operated from Berlin. ("Irregular" Rites are 

those not recognized by the official body of Freemasonry as legitimate.) The 

most prominent of Reuss's Orders were the Sovereign Sanctuary of the 

Ancient and Primitive Rite 95° of Memphis and Misraim (MM), and the 

Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, the AASR. MM and AASR, like the 

O.T.O. that later emerged from them, were essentially commercial vehicles; 

their raison d'etre was to collect dues from members with a craving for the 

pompous titles and cryptic mumbo-jumbo of Masonry As a side business, 

Reuss also peddled admission into questionable aristocratic Orders which 

granted would-be "Knights" permission to officially call themselves "Sir." 

Reuss was already indulging his penchant for myth-making and 

swathing himself in the reputations of the Great (or at least famous) Adepts 
of the past. Reuss, in a bid to sell permissions to open lodges under his aegis, 

suggested that his Memphis and Misraim Rite was a revival of the 

mountebank Cagliostro's Egyptian Rite, founded in Paris. And if that wasn't 

impressive enough, he also claimed a link to the celebrated Adam Weishaupt, 

founder of the fabled Illuminati. Before he conceived the O.T.O. angle, one 

of Reuss's less successful enterprises was an Order of the Illuminati, which 

he shamelessly presented as the authentic resurfacing of that legendary 

eighteenth century cabal. These entirely bogus connections to Cagliostro, 

Weishaupt and the Illuminati - figments of Reuss's febrile imagination - 

were carried over into his myth of the O.T.O. , and are still cited today by the 

ingenuous as proof of the O.T.O's illustrious lineage. 

Yet another Reussian Order, this one drawing on the potent myth of 

Rosicrucianism, was the Fraternitas Lucis Hermeticae. Some modern authors 

have assumed that it must have been connected to Paschal Beverly 

Randolph's similarly named lodge, the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, 

operating in Paris. Indeed, a 1912 constitution drafted by Reuss establishes 

that the O.T.O "is an organisation, known previously as "Hermetic 

Brotherhood of Light", newly organized and newly constituted." Even if 

there is no direct connection between the Randolph and Reuss vehicles, the 

influence of Randolph's sex magical theories on Reuss - and subsequently on 

the later versions of the O.T.O. - seems clear enough. 

If the reader is having trouble keeping up with Reuss's many vaguely 

defined Orders, imagine Reuss' own difficulties. He was faced with the 

challenge of keeping The Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis and 

Misraim, The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, The Order of Illuminati, 

and several other Rosicrucian-themed fraternities of his devise somehow 

distinct from each other. This bewildering aggregation of Orders was in 

permanent fluctuation - the border between one Reuss Order and another was 
so unclear that even the "most worshipful brothers" who joined them weren't 

exactly sure to which one they belonged. Reuss's mania for constantly 

dreaming up ever loftier names for these ambiguous fellowships only added 

to the confusion. What was needed, he seems to have decided, was a central 

umbrella Order to incorporate his vast phantom empire under one roof. 

There was a more pressing impetus for the construction of a new, 

hopefully more coherent (and lucrative) super-Order. Reuss had been 

consistently losing money on his Masonic ventures since the resignation of 

several members from Reuss's reconstituted Illuminati. These disgruntled exmembers 

brought Reuss to court, exposing the sham nature of the many 

paper organizations he touted to the tightly-knit Masonic community. 

Thus it was that Reuss, who could already proudly proclaim himself 

Illustrious Brother, Expert Master Mason, Secret Master, Perfect Master, 

Grand Elect Knight Kadosh, 30°, Grand Inquisitor Commander, 31°, Prince 

of the Royal Secret, and Sovereign Grand Inspector General 33° ad Vitam of 

the Orders of the United Rites of Scottish, Memphis and Misraim 

Freemasons in and for the German Reich, added the resplendent title of 

Outer Head of Ordo Templi Orientis, the Sovereign Sanctuary of the Gnosis, 

to his ever-expanding roster of imposing epithets. 

Although Reuss and later embellishers of the O.T.O myth stated that 

it was officially formed as early as 1896 or 1902, its actual founding date was 

almost certainly much later. No mention of it appears until 1904, and it 

doesn't seem to have been much more than yet another empty name on 

Reuss's letterhead until as late as 1912. 
In 1906, Reuss, with an eye on publicity, sent a letter to the then wellknown 

esoteric teacher Rudolf Steiner, founder of the Anthrosophical 

movement, duly granting him the honor of the 33° and 95° in the O.T.O. No 

doubt this came as a surprise to the puritanical Steiner, who later was 

emphatic in his unqualified denunciation of Reuss and his O.T.O. venture - 
let alone its sex magical teaching. However, it was Reuss's custom to attempt 

to forge alliances with prominent men in the occult world of his day by 

endowing honorary dignities upon them, in the hopes that these tenuous links 

with distinguished names would be good for business. To this day, based on 

this nebulous incident, many O.T.O. adherents insist, despite all evidence to 

the contrary, that Rudolf Steiner was a leading figure in the early Ordo 

Templi Orientis. 

Reuss's efforts to publicize the O.T.O remained on this small scale 

until September of 1912, when he published his first lengthy article about the 

fledgling Order in a Jubilee edition of The Oriflamme, a newsletter Reuss 

distributed to his loosely-linked, ever-shifting network of organizations. 

Reuss shamelessly quotes a few passages out of context that the then recently 

deceased Franz Hartmann had penned before the Ordo Templi Orientis even 

had any semblance of existence: 
"Let it be known that there exists, unknown to the great crowd, a very ancient 

order of sages, whose object is the amelioration and spiritual elevation of 

mankind, by means of conquering error and aiding men and women in their 

efforts of attaining the power of recognising the truth. This Order has existed 

already in the most remote, and prehistorical times and it has manifested its 

activity secretly and openly in the world under different names and in various 

forms; it has caused social and political revolutions and proved to be the rock 

of salvation in times of danger and misfortune." 

Having established the inestimably great age of the O.T.O, as well as its 

secret influence upon world history, Reuss lets it be known that "our Order" 

is the repository of a transmission of spoken wisdom communicated from 

"wise men from the East". Finally, after several circuitous detours through 

further hinted-at mysteries and coyly suggested arcana, Reuss finally lets the 

cat out of the bag in the last paragraph of the article: "Our Order possesses 

the key which opens up all Masonic and Hermetic secrets, namely, the 

Teaching of sexual magic, and this teaching, explains, without exception, all 

the secrets of Nature, all the symbolism of Freemasonry and all systems of 


Reuss imparted basic magical knowledge and mental training to his 

O.T.O. initiates according to a system of seven Freemason-style degrees, 

which were fancifully associated with the opening of the seven chakras, a 

concept popularized through the writings of Blavatsky. The new candidate 

for O.T.O. initiation was earnestly guided through the usual rigmarole of 

Masonic pomp, ceremony, and endowing of bombastic titles and fancy 

apparel so dear to the joiner of occult organizations. But unlike other 

Masonic groups, there was an emphasis on developing pseudo-yogic powers 

of concentration, breath control and focus of the will - preparation for the 

true work of the O.T.O. In light of its later reputation as an exclusively sexmagical 

body, it should be emphasized that the Reuss O.T.O. was extremely 

discreet when it came to advertising the exact nature of its teachings. It was 

not until the Templar reached the eighth degree of initiation that the secrets 

of sex magic were revealed to him. He was instructed to perform autoerotic 

magic, which took the form of masturbatory worship of one's own "holy 

phallus" combined with the development of mental imagery at orgasm. 

Only upon attaining the ninth degree was the initiate instructed in the 

O.T.O. technique of ritual coitus with a female. For Reuss, former opera 

singer and ardent Wagnerian, the consciousness-altering secret of ritualized 

penetration of the vagina with the phallus enacted in the DC rite was 


revealed in esoteric symbolism by Richard Wagner in his opera Parsifal. 

According to Reuss, in his 1914 Parsifal And The Secret Of The Graal 

Unveiled, the spear and grail-cup so important to the opera are actually 

symbols for the lingam and the yoni. He speculated that the miraculous 

spiritual benefit which the Grail knights receive from drinking the sacred 

wine from the holy chalice veils the Gnostic practice of eating the sexual 

fluids emitted by men and women during copulation as a means of gaining 

divine consciousness. "Wagner," Reuss announced in his usual bravura style 

"is not only the greatest hero, but also the greatest confessor and prophet of 

the sexual religion of the future, which will be based on the obligatory ritual 

consummation of the sexual act." Wagner, no doubt an enthusiastic 
erotomane, may not have agreed with his admirer's assessment, but we have 

already noted the long-standing connection of the Graal legend with an 
esoteric tradition of sex-mysticism. Richard Wagner himself often used sex 
to activate the shamanic ecstasies that led to his inspired compositions. Sex 
magicians should take note of the magical role that the Feminine Daemonic 

played in Wagner's tempestuous operas and in his turbulent love life. As 
Julius Kapp wrote in his The Women In Wagner's Life: "The prime force of 
creative art is Eros. A more convincing proof of this maxim than is afforded 
by the life of Richard Wagner it would be hard to find in the cultural history 

of the human race." 

This ninth degree sexual rite, despite Reuss's claim that it was passed 

on to the Order via Kellner from Eastern Adepts, reveals little apparent 

Tantric influence except for the recommendation that the male celebrants 

should ingest the alchemically mixed sexual fluids released at the conclusion 

of the operation. But this act does not seem to derive directly from Yuma 

Marga teaching concerning the drinking of the amrita. Instead, the Gnostic 

practice of eating sperm as a way of incorporating the Body of Light, the 

essence of Christ consciousness in semen, seems to have been Reuss' real 

inspiration. The true secret of O.T.O. sexual initiation was Reuss's belief that 

consuming a Holy Mass of semen was a key to mystical illumination. To his 

credit, he seemed far more concerned with using sexual force for the Great 

Work of transforming consciousness; the small-minded use of spermophagia 

for money magic that Reuss's would-be successor Crowley was reduced to is 

absent from the early O.T.O. 

Reuss identified the power fueling his brand of sex magic as "the 

practice of transmutation of reproductive energy." In the sense that such a 

transmutation involves the deviation of a natural bodily force normally 

expended in procreation into a non-natural psychic power creating a new 

state of being, Reuss's concept coincides with sinister current erotic 

metaphysics. During the ninth degree sexual act, the O.T.O. adept was 

expected to exercise his force of will to lift the reproductive energies 


gathered in the genitals to the abdomen; the breathing and concentration 

exercises learned in the first seven degrees allowed the transmutation to be 

accomplished. Obviously, the method of raising sexual energy from the lower 

to the higher areas of the body can be likened to Kundalini, and is much like 

Chinese Taoist sexual alchemy Adopting his Masonic brother Carl Kellner's 

somewhat faulty and incomplete understanding of yoga, Reuss based his sexmagical 

theories on the development of the 10 Vayus (winds) in the body. 

This rechannelling of reproductive power, Reuss maintained, was 

not simply an excuse for "sexual excesses, but the strengthening of eternal 

divine power on the earthly plane, for which sexually strong perfected 

people, of masculine and feminine gender are needed." He also likened the 

practice of IX° sex magic to the divine process of creation, exclaiming that 

"this is white sexual magic!" Reuss ambitiously envisioned the O.T.O. as the 

vanguard of a Utopian society of sexually liberated beings, which he 

described as "a community of Neo-Christians." Those who have attempted 

to paint the early O.T.O. as an assembly of Satanic sex fiends are easily 

refuted by Reuss's own description of his organization as a white magical 

religion with strong, if unorthodox, Christian overtones. 

But Reuss cannot really be considered an exponent of the left-hand 

path, since his original O.T.O. was entirely a phallocentric sperm cult - 

women may have been allowed to join his Order, but they were not accorded 

any great importance; in his writings and rituals, we find no recognition of 

the Shakti power of the Feminine Daemonic, one of the most important 

criteria for defining an adept of the left-hand path. 

It is true that Reuss professed to view womankind as "the 

incarnation of divine creative power" and "guardian of the holy fire", stating 

that "Every 'Blessed Woman' is 'Holy' to us." Superficially, Reuss's theories 

concerning the sacred place of woman would seem to be in accord with the 

left-hand path reverence for the Shakti principle. However, when he writes 

that his teaching seeks to establish a future in which every "'Mother' is 

honored as the 'High Priestess' of her family," he betrays the traditional 

views of most German men of his time: a woman may be sacred, but her 

only proper functions are motherhood and minding the hearth. For instance, 

Reuss condemned England "with its extreme Motherhood-denying 'woman's 

movement (Suffragettes)'" and hoped that the O.T.O. could aid in 

inculcating a more mother-friendly environment there. 

Reuss essentially viewed the ideal female sex magic partner as a 

fawning vessel passively absorbing her Master's seed - the structure of 

O.T.O. sex magic provides the female with a secondary role while 

simultaneously placing her on a pedestal. We will encounter the same 

curious phenomenon in Reuss's O.T.O. contemporary Crowley, who praised 

his women to the sky as living goddesses in his flowery abstract writings 

whilst demanding that they be beaten, barefoot and pregnant scullery maids 

in reality. 

Tellingly, the O.T.O. 's ninth degree is nearly identical with Paschal 

Beverly Randolph's simple instructions for making a "prayer" at the climax 

of intercourse, focusing the will at the moment of orgasm to create a magical 

change. But according to Reuss, who took his cue from Blavatsky's tall tales, 

yet another of those mysterious Eastern Mahatmas had been instrumental in 

founding the Ordo Templi Orientis, although this one was presumably still 

occupying a body on the material plane at the time. Reuss put forth that his 

dead colleague Carl Kellner had been initiated into sexual rites by two 

Indian yogis, Sri Mahatma Agamya Guru Paramahamsa, and Beema Sen 

Pratap. According to this founding legend, additional instruction had been 

provided to Kellner by an Arabic fakir, one Soliman bin Aifha, reportedly a 

Sufi Master. 

Did these teachers exist? In Kellner's 1896 paper Yoga, A Sketch Of 

The Psycho-Physiological Element Of The Ancient Indian Yoga Teaching, 

which was presented to the Third International Congress for Psychology held 

in Munich, he thanks a "Mr. Beema Sena Pratapa from Lahore." The paper, 

notable as an early European introduction to yoga techniques, makes no 

mention of any sexual rites, and is inaccurate in many basic points of fact, 

which does not speak well for Reuss's claim that Kellner was instructed by 

authentic Indian teachers. 

Rather than accept the legend that the O.T.O. was drawn from 

genuine Indian left-hand path sources, it seems far more likely that Reuss 

merely picked up a few stray Tantric ideas from his extensive reading in 

several languages and applied his own considerable reservoir of magical 

knowledge upon this bare basis. It has also been argued that Reuss's 

knowledge of sexual magic was obtained from his knowledge of Paschal 

Beverly Randolph's Eulis Brotherhood and Hermetic Brotherhood of Light, 

which seems quite probable when we examine the actual procedures of the 

O.T.O. 's sex magic. If this were the case, the Western world's most wellknown 

sex magical Order is not the product of secrets whispered by Eastern 

holy men at all. It may be that the O.T.O. is a synthetic creation whose 

genesis truly lays in the mind of an obscure African-American writer 

operating in the prosaic USA. Proof, yet again, that the facts are far stranger 

than the exotic legends occultists sprinkle like fairy dust in their wake. 

Whatever the truth may be, Reuss allowed it to be known that some 

of the closely guarded arcana supposedly revealed to Kellner on his Eastern 

journey concerned the long-suspected but never definitively proven nature of 

the sex-magical practices of the Knights Templar. From his enigmatic 

teachers, Kellner had allegedly learned that the Templars had acquired a 

system of what amounts to left-hand path illumination. Reuss concluded that 

the entire Masonic tradition that the Templars had subsequently inspired was 


informed by a secret doctrine of Eastern sexual magic, the key to which 

Kellner had been granted in India. Many Central European Freemasonic 

Orders claimed - with vivid imagination but little historical basis - to be the 

authentic heirs of the martyred Templars, guardians of the secret wisdom of 

Baphomet. What exactly this wisdom consisted of had been open to dispute. 

Reuss's innovation was to brazenly identify the Templar legacy supposedly 

inherited by the Freemasons as a system of sexual magic. 

Seen through this newly provided initiatic vantage point, many of the 

infamous accusations leveled against the Templars took on a new 

significance. The Knights had not been Satanic debauchees, as the Church 

had concluded. Rather, they were the martyred bearers of a hidden 

knowledge of erotic initiation communicated to them while stationed in 

Eastern lands. 

The documents from the Templar trial, for instance, disclose that 

each new Templar was accepted only after presenting his naked body to 

receive a three-fold kiss on mouth, abdomen and the base of the spine from 

the perceptor of the Order. Hearing of this, the Christian magistrates could 

only have concluded that this rite of initiation was a celebration of the 

Satanic osculum obscaenum - the obscene kiss reported to have been 

witnessed performed upon the Devil himself at Black Sabbaths. However, 

viewed from the pseudo-Tantric perspective Reuss had now adopted, this kiss 

may well have been a transmission of prana - the vital magical life-force - to 

three important chakras or power points in the body. The kiss at the base of 

the spine may well have been intended to activate kundalini. The charge that 

the new initiate sometimes submitted to ritual fellation or anal sex could have 

been the sealing of this initiatory exchange of sexual power. 

And what of Baphomet, the baffling androgynous deity the 

Templars supposedly worshipped? Might this half-male, half-female being 

not he a anthropomorphized figure symbolizing the hermaphroditic inner 

state created by sexual union? Reuss, and Crowley after him, was to make 

Baphomet an important part of his reconstituted Order of Templars. 

In the decades before the O.T.O's founding, interest in Baphomet 

had recently been revived through the writings of the French mage Eliphas 

Levi. It is important to understand that the O.T.O's mixture of esoteric 
themes was very much a reflection of concerns circulating throughout the 

occult world of the time. For example, Reuss would surely have been 
familiar with the work of Baron Joseph von Ham mer-Piirgstall, an author 

deeply immersed in the study of Eastern mysticism. It was Hammer- 

Piirgstall who first theorized that the name of Baphomet had been derived 

from the Greek Baphe Metis, "the baptism of wisdom." Harmer-Piirgstall's 

fascination with Baphomet led him to translate the cryptic words engraved 

on an ancient Templar chest discovered in Burgundy: "Let Baphomet be 

exalted, who causes things to bud and blossom! he is our root; it is one and 

seven; abjure the faith and abandon thyself to all pleasure." Hammer- 

Piirgstall also speculated that the homosexual rites attributed to the original 

Templars were the survival of a cult of phallic worship. 

Reuss insisted that he now had conclusive proof that the Knights 

Templar had been provided with a mandate by a school of Eastern sexmagicians 

to bring this secret doctrine to the benighted Western world. This 

mission had failed with the mass arrest and extermination of the Templars. 

Reuss boldly contended that Sri Mahatma Agamya Guru Paramahamsa, 

Bhima Sen Pratap, and Soliman bin Aifha, had granted his fallen fellow 

seeker Kellner the sole occult authority to be the true heir of the pure 

Templar tradition in the West, now that he had reestablished contact with its 

long-lost source. Armed with this commission, Kellner is said to have 

returned to Vienna, where he instituted a new Order of Templars in the 

West, grandly termed a "Sovereign Sanctuary" of secret wisdom. Again, not 

a shred of proof exists to back up any of this, but it has been solemnly 

repeated by hundreds of authors as gospel truth. The name of Ordo Templi 

Orientis was chosen to explicitly acknowledge the spurious Eastern source 

of the sexual secrets underlying this undertaking. 

As with so many intelligence operatives, Reuss's real convictions 

remain a matter of dispute. The National Socialists, revolted by his 

combination of magic, Freemasonry, and "free love," condemned the O.T.O 

founder after his death as a left-wing "Sex-Bolshevist." But some of his own 

writings suggest that he was actually a right-wing German nationalist 

professing authoritarian Utopian visions. In 1914, Reuss laid out his 

messianic proposal for an ideal future, a curious mixture of communism, 

fascism, and sexual liberation. After the O.T.O had been ratified as the 

official state religion, Reuss mused, a rigorous program of eugenics would 

be instituted, assuring that only "perfect" couples would be licensed to 

breed. Under his O.T.O. Utopia, a system of slave labor would be installed, 

and the state would abolish all private property for the common good. 

Considering that Reuss presented the O.T.O. as a modern revival of the 

lost Templar heritage, another glaring omission is evident in his program. 

After all, if the voluminous records of the trial of the Templars can be 

believed, the sexual rites of initiation performed by the all-male Order of 

Knights seem to have been concentrated on the exchange of male sexual 

energy. In 1906, Reuss was indeed brought to court by a student on a charge 

of homosexual violation, supposedly committed during a yogic lesson, but 

this seems to have been a trumped-up accusation. Any serious attempt at 

recreating Templar magic would presumably have to include male-to-male 

anal intercourse and fellatio - practices never addressed in Kellner's original 

O.T.O. curriculum. This inconsistency was eventually rectified by the man 


who attempted to wrest control of the O.T.O. from Reuss, and remake it in 

his own image; Sir Baphomet - better known as Aleister Crowley - who can 

never be accused of having left any logical hole unfilled. 



Sex Sex Sex And 666 

Aleister Crowley: Adept Of The Left-Hand 


The Secret Of Secrets - Crowley Joins The O.T.O. 

The next link in the chain of the modern sex-magical tradition established by 

Reuss has been granted the patina of legend by the sanction of yet another 

one of those enduring occult myths. It goes like this: 

In 1912, an irate Theodor Reuss is said to have paid a call at the 

Victoria Street flat of a thirty-seven year old English amateur poet, 

mountaineer and magician. This was not a social visit; Reuss had come on 

official Order business. Upon being invited in, Reuss immediately 

reproached his host for having dared to publish the most inaccessible O.T.O. 
secret, the sexual mystery of the IX°, in one of his books. The Englishman, 
one Aleister Crowley, informed his guest that was impossible - he did not 

even know the O.T.O. 's IX° secret. To prove his point, Reuss examined 
Crowley's library and found one of his perplexed host's tomes, The Book Of 

Lies, an enigmatic collection of magical riddles, puns and wordplay even 

more cryptic than others in his oeuvre. There, on the page entitled "The Star 

Sapphire", Reuss pointed an accusatory finger to the offending line; "Let 

him drink of the Sacrament and let him communicate the same." 

Clearly, Reuss explained, Crowley must be referring to the O.T.O. 's 

central initiatory mysterium: the ritual consumption of semen as the essence 

of the Gnostic Logos. Of course, it was unlikely that any reader unversed in 

the obscure byways of libertine Gnostic heresy would have the faintest idea 

what this sentence meant. Nor was it very likely that Crowley's obscure 

book would have fallen into the hands of too many readers. Nevertheless, 

Reuss bade Crowley to keep the sacred secret of the Order, the supposed key 

to all magic. Crowley solemnly vowed that he would never disclose this to 

the profane. The purpose of Reuss's visit resolved, the adepts discussed the 

mysteries of erotic initiation as they understood them. Reuss, realizing that 

Crowley's independent research into sex magic had made him privy to the 

teachings of the Order, suggested that he become the leader of the (then 

memberless) O.T.O. in Britain. Ever fond of fancy titles and quasi-Masonic 

pomp and ceremony, Crowley agreed to bear the terrible burdens of office 

he had been offered. 
At least that is the story - more or less - as it was related by 


Aleister Crowley, and subsequently embellished by his followers. While 

there may be some atom of truth to this oft-told tale, at least one detail is 

askew; at the time of this momentous meeting of magical minds, The Book 

Of Lies had not yet seen print - it was not to appear until the next year. In 

which case, whatever spermomagical O.T.O secrets had been hinted at in its 

pages, they were already known to Crowley, who had by then been installed 

as the Order's British chief. 

Crowley later claimed that his meeting with Reuss confirmed his 

suspicion that "behind the frivolities and convivialities of Freemasonry lay 

in truth a secret ineffable and miraculous, potent to control the forces of 

nature, and not only to make men brethren, but to make them divine." 

That secret, of course, was sex magic - a practice that may not 

always make men "brethren", but can at least be counted on to make them 

very friendly with one another. Although the name of Aleister Crowley is 

today practically inseparable from the idea of sex magic, it must be 

remembered that in his lifetime, despite all of his deliberate provocations of 

public morality, he was surprisingly tight-lipped about his practice of erotic 

sorcery and initiation. Crowley may never have made that legendary solemn 

vow to Theodor Reuss to guard the sex secrets of the O.T.O. from the great 

unwashed. But in the vast body of written work Crowley wrote for public 

consumption, he offers only a few covert clues to his readers, usually veiled 

in symbolic euphemisms. His more direct sex magic instructions and rituals 

were reserved only for those few of his students who actually formally 

joined his precarious variant of the O.T.O. 

Much was rumored and insinuated about Crowley's notorious sexual 

habits during his fleeting public appearances in courtroom battles and gutterpress 

reports of his activities. But very little of a definitive nature was 

known until after his death, first through a few less than objective 

biographies, and then through the publication of his many magical diaries, 

the most useful of which are The Magical Diaries Of Aleister Crowley and 

The Magical Record Of The Beast 666, which were not made publicly 

available until the 1970s. For the most part, it is to Crowley's own 

uncensored words in his sex-magical diaries that we will turn in our 

examination of his actual practice. Think what one will of Crowley as man 

and magician, his journals provide any student of sex magic with invaluable 

psychological insights into some of the challenges of erotic initiation in the 

modern West. 

It somehow seems appropriate to begin our exploration of Aleister 

Crowley with an uncertain legend rather than an established fact. For any 

attempt to get to the bottom - shall we say - of the Great Beast is largely a 

matter of seeing beyond the gaudy glare of his posthumous legend to the 

mortal that legend conceals. 


Whatever the true story of how Reuss first came into contact with 

Crowley, the English magician was indeed summoned to visit Reuss in 

Berlin, where he was ceremonially installed as the "Most Holy, Most 

Illustrious, Most Illuminated and Most Puissant Baphomet, X, Rex Summits 

Sanctissimus 33°, 90°, 96°, Past Grand Master of the United States of 

America, Grand Master and Supreme and Holy King of Ireland, Iona and All 

the Britains that are in the Sanctuary of the Gnosis, National-Grossmeister 

ad vitam der M.:M.:M.:" The name Baphomet was selected by Crowley in 

honor of the androgynous idol of the original Templars whose work the 

O.T.O. claimed to be continuing. 

If Frater Merlin (Reuss) believed that his newly instated lodge 

brother Baphomet would make for a useful subordinate in the Order, he was 

not the first to underestimate the vaunting ambitions of Aleister Crowley. As 

Jean Overton Fuller wrote of Crowley: "He was one of those who use people 

as ladders; ingratitude was his hallmark." Far from being content to play 

second fiddle to Reuss in the tiny O.T.O. , Crowley already envisioned 

himself as the prophet - if not the incarnation - of Thelema, a new religion 

that he preached would rule mankind for the next two thousand years. To 

this end, he quickly diverted his branch of the O.T.O. from Reuss's original 

vision into a vehicle for the promulgation of his personal religion, Thelema. 

In 1921, Reuss, annoyed by Crowley's attempt to integrate his Thelemic 

teaching into the Order, expelled the Englishman from the O.T.O. 

altogether. Nevertheless, after Reuss's death in 1923, Crowley continued to 

masquerade as the Outer Head of the O.T.O. for the remainder of his life. 

The result has been that the true O.T.O. - such as it was - founded by Reuss 

has been long eclipsed by the Crowleyan fantasy, an error that continues to 

the present day. 

Holy Crowleyanity 

Although we will largely be concerned here with Crowley's sex magical 

theory and practice, this important aspect of his teaching should be 

understood as only one part of a complex religious system. Before we 

identify some of the most germane elements of Crowleyan erotic initiation, a 

larger picture of the prophetic role Crowley fashioned for himself must be 


The event that had provided Crowley with his messianic mission 

took place during Crowley's 1904 honeymoon in Cairo. According to 

Crowley, a superhuman being known as Aiwass dictated to him a received 

document called The Book Of The Law, acclaimed as the principal Thelemic 

scripture. (Gerald Yorke, another disenchanted adherent who later 

characterized Crowley as a "false prophet," irreverently called Aiwass 

"Eyewash") Crowley recalled that the voice of Aiwass spoke to him from 

behind his left shoulder - a detail interpreted by some as evidence that The 

Book Of The Law is a work of the sinister, left-turning current. Less 
esoterically, some psychiatrists have described hearing voices from behind 

the left shoulder as a symptom of schizophrenia - although if Crowley's 
behavior can be classified clinically, the highs and lows of manic depression 

would seem a far likelier diagnosis. 

Whether one interprets The Book Of The Law as a transmission from 

a god-like being, or merely as an eruption of Crowley's unconscious mind, it 

is significant that its reception was anticipated by Crowley's wife, the illfated 

Rose. She is said to have fallen into a light trance and announced to her 

husband that the Gods had a message for him, detailing the time and place at 

which they would communicate. Many of the visions, oracles, and astral 

messages that were such an important part of Crowley's magical practice 

were in fact spoken to him by his female sexual partners, who invariably 

served as his intermediaries to "the astral." For the most part, these visions 

were inspired by an excess of drinking, ether, opium, and flicking, which 

allowed his exhausted consorts to fall into a post-coital trance of what 

Crowley termed "eroto-comataose lucidity" 

In this altered state, Crowley's female companion served as his 

"skryer," an Old English word for a medium, or "seer." In this sense, the 

specific left-turning properties of the Feminine Daemonic were a major 

influence on Crowley - he consistently relied on erotically charged women 

to he his guides to the daemonic realm. However, he refused to accept that 

female magicians could serve as much more than mindless empty vessels, 

radios of flesh picking up stray signals from the beyond. For Crowley, 

Woman was merely a desirable animal, whose natural propensity for 

visionary experience in a state of erotic arousal made her a useful beast of 

burden for his forays into the higher planes of consciousness. But he utterly 

denied her the dignity of a left-hand path shakti; he once dismissed woman 

in general by writing that "She has no individuality." The sinister current sex 

magician, in considering what useful methods Crowley's legacy may 

contain, must keep his withering scorn for the feminine in mind. 

Crowley put forth that Aiwass was one of the "Secret Chiefs" or 

"Unknown Superiors" said to preside over this planet, similar to the 

mahatmas popularized in the West by Theosophical teachings, or the 

bodhisattvas of the Buddhist left-hand path. Perhaps Crowley's least 

ambiguous statement concerning such entities is his remark that his 

"observation of the Universe convinces me that there are beings of 

intelligence and power of a far higher quality than anything we can conceive 

of as human; that they are not necessarily based on the cerebral and nervous 

structures that we know, and that the one and only chance for mankind to 
advance as a whole is for individuals to make contact with such beings." For 

Crowleyans, and perhaps for Crowley himself, The Book ()f The Law is a 

testament of such contact between man and these higher intelligences. 

Through the message of Aiwass, Crowley declared that he had become the 

prophet of the Aeon of Horus, the long-awaited new age that would sweep 

away the religions of the past. (The Aeonic concept, based on Crowley's 

misconception of the Gnostic Aion, which he first learned of from the 

magician and actress Florence Farr, reveals the substantial impact of 

Gnosticism on Thelema.) 

Thus ordained to the sacrosanct office of World Teacher, Crowley 

presented himself as a religious figure comparable to Christ, Lao Tzu, 

Buddha and Mohammed - the most recent in a lineage of sages who have 

been charged with the spiritual supervision of the planet. Crowley's messianic 

goals, directed to "all" rather than to a few heroic beings prepared to break 

from mass consciousness, cannot be reconciled with the left-hand path's 

elitist and individual approach to initiation. But clearly such a lofty sense of 

identity is consonant with sinister current objectives of self-deification. 

Just as Gautama Siddartha, the Buddha, had condensed his teaching 

in the Word Anatta, and the Christ had proclaimed Agape (Love), Crowley 

had uttered Thelema - Greek for "Will." In 1915, Crowley named himself as 

the Magus of Thelema, in a rite of initiation that was marked by the 

crucifixion of a toad symbolizing Jesus. Identifying himself with the godhead 

of the apocalyptic monster foretold in Revelations, he took the name To 

Mega Merlon 666 (Great Beast 666), and set for himself no lesser aim than 

"to set in motion occult forces which would result in the illumination of all 

by 2000 A.D." Crowley's law for human conduct, uttered by his followers 

with alarming frequency, is "Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law." In 

practice, the Law of Thelema compels those who accept it to seek the one 

thing that they were meant to do in this incarnation, and to fulfill one's Will 

regardless of any external opposition - to be what you most truly are. A full 

exploration, acceptance, and mastery of one's sexual desires is an important 

part of this quest. Just as we have noted that one of Crowley's other wellknown 

dictums "Love is the Law, Love Under Will" bears a suspicious 

resemblance to his sex magical predecessor P. B. Randolph's "Will reigns 

Omnipotent; Love Iieth at the Foundation", so is Crowley's Thelema and its 

law of Do What Thou Wilt clearly appropriated from a much earlier source. 

In the bawdy French novel Gargantua, by Francois Rabelais, written 
in 1542, we find an Abbey of Theleme, whose randy Thelemite libertines live 

under the motto Fay Ce Que Vouldra - Do What Thou Wilt. Sir Francis 

Dashwood's eighteenth-century society for aristocratic rakes and orgiasts, the 

Hellfire Club, emblazoned this same motto from Rabelais over the entrance 

to their own mock Abbey at Medmenham. (Crowley founded his own lowbudget 

Abbey of Thelema in a Sicilian farmhouse during the 1920s.) At the 


very least, then, Crowley's religion of Thelema and its Do What Thou Wilt 

philosophy must be considered repackaged goods. To those who pointed out 

the earlier appearances of these key Thelemic concepts to him, Crowley 

brazenly insisted that Rabelais was in fact a secret Adept who anticipated the 

coming of Crowleyanity. In deference to this prophetic vision, Crowley 

canonized Rabelais as a Thelemic saint. Crowley, like most founders of 

religions, twisted the sometimes awkward facts of history to meet the needs 

of his budding faith. 

The Thelemic injunction of "do what thou wilt" can be compared to 

the Tantric left-hand path level of initiation known as Svecchacaya. The 

Svecchacari adept is said to literally follow the way of "do as you will." 

Such initiates have transcended all pashu dualities. The Svecchacari is free 

to act according to will, having passed beyond the strictures binding the 

uninitiated. Crowleyan Will, like Tantric Svecchacaya is not a license for 

anarchy, rape, and murder as has commonly been assumed. At least in 

theory, the Thelemite and the Varna Marga initiate are permitted to act 

according to self-volition, rather than obey the laws dictated by society and 

religion, because they operate from a divine state of consciousness. Whether 

Crowley can be said to have mastered himself sufficiently to exercise his 

Will with such impunity is open to question. Nevertheless, it's apparent that 

he himself entertained no doubts on the matter. 

Shortly after declaring himself an Ipsissimus, a grade of initiation 

in the Western magical tradition roughly equivalent to the Eastern left-hand 

path Divya, Crowley composed a revealing initiatory self-portrait. The 

mixture of brutally honest self-examination leavened with flashes of 

megalomania typifies the Crowleyan approach to his favorite subject: 

"I am myself a physical coward, but I have exposed myself to every form of 

disease, accident and violence; I am dainty and delicate, but I have driven 

myself to delight in dirt and disgusting debauches, and to devour human 

excrements and human flesh. I am at this moment defying the power of 

drugs to disturb my destiny and divert my body from its duty. I am also a 

mental and moral weakling, whose boyhood training was so horrible that its 

result was that my will wholly summed up in hatred of all restraint, whose 

early manhood, untrained, left my mind and animal soul like an elephant in 

rut broken out of the stockade. Yet I have mastered every mode of my mind, 

and made myself a morality more severe than any other in the world if only 

by virtue of its absolute freedom from any code of conduct." 

The overcoming of inner and external boundaries, the reconstruction of the 

self through trespass and inversion, the integration and acceptance of the 

horrifying aspects of maya; all of these Crowleyan methods would be 


immediately familiar to the more radical practitioners of the left-hand path, 

such as the Aghori. Just as the Indian left-hand path Kapalikas deliberately 

dishonored themselves in the eyes of legitimate Brahmin society as a tool of 

transcendence, one could make a case for Crowley's deliberate provocation 

of the acceptable standards of his time as a pure expression of one of the 

sinister current's most important methods. 

The remanifestation of a rich, respectable, Cambridge-educated 

scion of a devout Christian family into the "Wickedest Man in the World", a 

destitute junkie expelled from several countries and calumnied as the foulest 

of perverts in the international press may have been Aleister Crowley's most 

effective magical act. Thus transformed into "the Wanderer of the Wastes" 

as he styled himself, Crowley could no more return to the polite British 
society that bred him than could the Tantrika who had shattered the Hindu 
taboos connected to sex, diet and death return to his or her allotted place in 

the caste system. But once separated from convention and social 
conditioning, the adept must take the next more difficult step of recreating 

him/herself as a sovereign entity. 

Earlier, we cited Philip Rawson's observations that the most extreme 

Varna Marga adept forces "himself to [commit] acts which destroy any 

vestiges of social status and self-esteem," a course of initiation which gladly 

accepts the role of "scandalous outcast" as a necessary prelude to divinity. 

Crowley, for all of his seemingly pertinent emphasis on sexual magic, departs 

from the essential principles of the left-hand path in several vital ways. But in 

the art of opposite-doing, of consciously going against the grain of self and 

society to individuate and self-deify, while paradoxically doing one's will, 

Crowley, a "scandalous outcast" by any standard, conies very close to the 

sinister current. 

That being said, it must be noted that a would-be adept of the lefthand 

path in the twentieth century has absolutely nothing to gain by merely 

aping Crowley's studied excesses, as all too many of his followers have 

senselessly done. Crowley had his own programmed training to transcend, 

just as you most certainly have yours. In 1920, there were relatively few 

well-brought up Englishmen exploring the dark corners of their psyche that 

Crowley systematically sought out. But since 1967, when Crowley's 

appearance on the cover of the Beatles' album Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts 

Club Band propelled him to pop icon status twenty years after his death, most 

modern magicians probably need to overcome the very ubiquity of Crowley 

in occult culture rather than emulate him. 

Although Crowley's law of Do What Thou Wilt did not originate with 

him, the seriousness with which he promulgated the concept cannot he 

denied. Associated with the discovery of the True Will that Crowley posited 

as the central purpose of each human incarnation was his dictum that "Every 

Man and Woman is a Star" - according to Thelemic doctrine, each selfrealized 

individual must follow his or her own course in the ordering of the 

universe, just as a star is separate from all other stars. Here we find another of 

the many traces of Gnosticism that inform Crowleyan thought; the Gnostics 

also maintained that the spark of divinity trapped in the human body was 

once a celestial body of light, and through the gnosis of Sophia, it was 

thought that men and women could return to their pristine existence as 

incorporeal stars. 
If he made large claims in the religious sphere, Crowley was just as 

bold in literature, comparing himself to Shakespeare among poets, and 

ranking himself as one of the greatest mountaineers of all time. Despite the 

pomposity of these pretensions, one gets the sneaking suspicion that much of 

the Croweyan bluster may just be an elaborate practical joke, an expression 

of the derision in which he appears to have held even his most devoted 

followers. If Crowley, was, as we tend to believe, little more than an erudite 

and sometimes even brilliant conman who enjoyed assuming the airs of a 

holy guru, he was at least partially honest about his real motivations. In the 

same Book Of Lies that had supposedly revealed the sex-magical secret 
guarded by the O.T.O., the Beast exposed an even more pertinent illustration 

of his methods: 

Teach us your secret, Master ! yap my Yahoos. 

Then for the hardness of their hearts, and for 

the softness of their heads, I taught them Magick. 

But ... alas! 
Teach us your real secret, Master! how to become 
invisible, how to acquire love, and oh! beyond all, 

how to make gold. 
But how much gold will you give me for the Secret 

of Infinite Riches? 

Then said the foremost and most foolish; Master, it 

is nothing; but here is an hundred thousand pounds. 

This did I design lo accept, and whispered in his ear 

this secret: 


Other authors have already chronicled Crowley's life and magical teachings 

in exhaustive depth, regarding him from such extremes as the pious reverence 

of the true believer to the lurid character assassination of the yellow 

journalist. For Crowley himself, such judgments were probably of no 

consequence; like Oscar Wilde, he seems to have lived by the credo that "the 

only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about." Our 
interest here will largely preclude determining if the Great Beast was a saint 


or a demon, a visionary or a madman. We have already established that a lefthand 

path adept may well appear to be insane or demonic by the non-initiated 

pashu's standards. And as Crowley himself rightly pointed out, true initiation 

is "incompatible with bourgeois morality." To judge him according to 

standards which he willfully abandoned early in his career would be 

meaningless. Rather than grapple with the ethical questions Crowley's 

excesses must raise, we will narrow our focus to placing his actual sexmagical 

practice into context with the left-hand path tradition, in an effort to 

ascertain what relation Crowley ultimately has to the sinister current. 

Crowley And The Varna Marga 
Many modem-day Crowleyans have characterized their master's teaching as a 

"Western Tantra". Even a few respected Tantric authorities, such as the 

Australian Jonn Mumf ord, have attempted to place Crowleyan sex magick in 

line with the Varna Marga. Some adherents of the various O.T.Os that have 

mushroomed since Crowley's death, accepting on faith Reuss's fabrications 

concerning Carl Kellner's supposed Eastern left-hand path initiation, 

naturally tend to see Crowley continuing this Tantric tradition. Indeed, some 

Crowleyans maintain that Crowley was actually inducted into Varna Marga 

rites by a Madras-based Guru, one Subhappaty Swami. But based on the lack 

of authentic Tantric concepts in his teaching, we suspect that this is as 

insubstantial a claim as the earlier legend of Kellner's supposed left-hand 

path instruction dreamed up by Reuss. 

The prolific and controversial British Thelemite author, Kenneth 

Grant, leader of the Typhonian O.T.O, has especially linked the Crowleyan 

93 Current with the Eastern left-hand path. Based on his writings, which we 

will consider again later, the notion that Crowley was a walker of the sinister 

way has gained fairly wide currency. For instance, in their King Of The 

Shadow Realm, Grant and his frequent collaborator John Symonds rather 

arbitrarily interpret the phrase "Abrogate are all rituals, all ordeals, all words 

and signs" from Crowley's Book Of The Law, as meaning that Crowley 

believed he should abandon "ceremonial magic as taught in the Golden 

Dawn, and take up sexual magic as taught by the Vamacharis or followers of 

the left hand path (because their worship is with women who are lunar or of 

the left)" But Crowley's sexual magic betrays very little taught by any 

followers of the left-hand path we are aware of; it is actually a conglomerate 

of Reussian sperm-gnosis, Randolph's orgasmic prayer and Volancia, the 

Kabbalah as taught by the Golden Dawn, all melded with Crowley's own 

self-created religion of Thelema. 

Another poetic flourish from The Book Of The Law - "put on wings, 

and arouse the coiled splendour within you: come unto me!" - has also been 

deciphered as a reference to awakening of the kundalini. And yet such 

interpretations, which resemble in their subjectivity the personal readings of 

Bible quotations indulged in by Christian sects, are not supported by 

Crowley's own writings. Despite such imaginative exegesis, save for a few 

indistinct references to Tantric concepts here and there, we find nothing in 

Crowley's work that evidences a working familiarity with left-hand path 


One of Crowley's central magical practices was the consumption of 

his semen combined with the female secretions (sometimes her menstrual 

blood) from his partner's vagina. Several Indian Tantras describe the 

ingestion of semen and menstrual blood as an act which can grant "all that 

one wishes", and more than one Tibetan Vajrayana text encourages the male 

adept to "lick the lotus [the vagina]" after the sexual union to gain certain 

magical powers. Crowley's detailed writings demonstrate no first-hand 
knowledge of left-hand path Tantras, but he may well have learned of this 
practice from Arthur Avalon's books before encountering Theodor Reuss' 

spermophagic O.T.O. 

To his credit, Crowley was one of the first Westerners to introduce 

yoga methods to Europe. However, none of the simple yogic techniques he 

taught his pupils are left-hand path in nature, despite his profound interest in 

sexual mysticism. Although the first two years of the twentieth century found 

Crowley traveling in Tibet, Ceylon, Nepal, and northern India - all major 

centers of left-hand path activity - he left no record of encounters with 

Tantric circles during this journey. According to him, several Himalayan 

mountaineering expeditions brought him into contact with temples previously 

forbidden to Europeans, but the secret doctrine of sexual initiation does not 

seem to have been conferred upon him in these visits. The major influence on 

Crowley's understanding of Eastern initiation came from his friend Allan 
Bennett, who abandoned Western hermetic magic for a Buddhist monastery 

in Ceylon, where he became Ananada Metteya. Apparently Buddhism 

endowed Bennett with powers Western sorcery had not - Crowley claimed 

that his colleague had. mastered the siddhi of levitation. Crowley, 

uncharacteristically, always acknowledged the debt he owed to Bennett, 

whom he described as one of the few men from whom he had ever learned 

anything. But whatever Crowley learned from Bennett it was not the carnal 

yoga of the left-hand path - Bennett was the most conventional of Buddhist 

monks, firmly dedicated to asceticism and denial of desire. 

Crowley himself was quite unambiguous in placing himself firmly on 

what he understood to be the right-hand path, distancing himself from the 

left-hand path in no uncertain terms. The problem is that it appears unlikely 

that Crowley's understanding of the paths was any more informed than the 

simplistic good/bad sophism of Blavatsky, who influenced his thought far 

more markedly than has been generally realized. 


So, despite the fact that some of his latter-day disciples are convinced 

that Crowley was the epitome of a left-hand path adept, and he himself 

categorically stated that he was not, he lays today in something of a limbo 

between the two paths. The fact is that many aspects of his magical practice, 

as we know them from his own voluminous writings and diaries, do fit the 

criteria of the universal sinister current as we defined them in Chapter One, 

just as others seem to argue strongly against such an identification. 

This characteristic confusion in his makeup, which some would no doubt 

interpret as a sign of genius, was ably described to Jean Overton Fuller by 

the Baroness Vittoria Cremers, a one-time associate and later foe of the 

Beast: "He wasn't White, He wasn't Black. Half-way in everything Crowley. 

He had enough knowledge to raise a current he couldn't control. Couldn't get 

it up, couldn't get it down, so it went round and round. It drove him mad. He 

wasn't a magician, he was a maniac." Even allowing for the subjective 

nature of such personal animosity, a study of Crowley's life and work bears 

out many of Cremers' impressions. (Although a plethora of accounts would 

testify to the fact that the satyr-like Crowley didn't usually have any 

difficulty getting it up.) 
Crowley's Definition Of The Left-Hand Path And Modern Neo- 


Crowley's uneducated adoption of Blavatsky's mistaken equation of the lefthand 

path with black magic and the ill-defined "Black Brotherhood" would 

have unforeseen consequences. 1934 saw the publication of The Devil Rides 

Out, the first of many Satanic potboilers penned by the British occult hack 

novelist Dennis Wheatley. The Devil Rides Out tells the talc of a Satanic 

secret society led by a charismatic magician based on Crowley. In fact, 

Wheatley, whose knowledge of magic was nearly nil, had obtained 

Crowley's help as an occult adviser during the research stage of his novel's 

composition. It was directly from Crowley that Wheatley picked up the 
specious idea that the way of Good was the right-hand path and the way of 
Evil was the left-hand path. Knowing none the better, and obviously having 

no familiarity with the true meaning of the phrase as a sexual method of 

initiation, Wheatley went on to describe the fictional Satanists in his novel 

as practitioners of the "Left Hand Path," although they are nothing of the 

kind. From this precarious source, some latter-day Satanists, unfamiliar with 

Eastern methods, began to capriciously utilize the phrase "left-hand path" as 

a synonym for Satanism and black magic. 

In particular, some of the writings of Anton LaVey (1930 — 1997), 

proprietor of the 1960s' personality cult, the Church of Satan, brought 

Dennis Wheatley's Crowley-derived association of Satanism with the lefthand 

path to a youthful and uninformed audience. That a fictional source 


such as Wheatley would be adopted by the LaVeyist interpretation of 

Satanism is not surprising. The Church of Satan's illusive ruling body, The 

Council of Nine, was named after a minor adventure novel by Talbot 

Mundy, The Nine Unknown; its newsletter, The Cloven Hoof, borrowed its 

name from a fictional periodical mentioned in a Robert E. Howard short 

story. LaVey also plundered the work of such fantasists as H. P. Lovecraft, 

Frank Belknap Long and H. G. Wells to find material for his rituals. He 

based significant areas of his life on William Lindsay Gresham's novel 

Nightmare Alley, the tale of a carnival conman who sets up his own religion. 

LaVeyism, an atheistic, materialistic and misogynistic creed, 

expressed no interest in the spiritual expansion of consciousness through 

sexual contact with the Feminine Daemonic (or any other means) and can 

certainly not accurately be labeled left-hand path. This error was, in turn, 

appropriated by some of LaVey's admirers, and now it seems that every 

Satanic group in the Western world automatically describes itself as lefthand 

path, cheerfully - and often willfully - ignorant of the true meaning of 

the term. As we have demonstrated in the cases of de Naglowska's Fleche 

D'Or and Gregorius's Fraternitas Saturni, Satanism and the sexual initiation 

of the left-hand path do indeed sometimes coincide, but this has actually 

been the exception rather than the rule. One common feature of modern 

Satanism is the mere celebration of carnality alone. Enjoyable though that 

pursuit may be, it is not a manifestation of the sinister current, just as the 

exclusion of sexual methods of initiation in favor of the purely cerebral, 

must also be ruled out as constituting the way of the left-hand path. 

Ironically, most of the modem Satanists who call themselves left-hand path 

dislike Crowley intensely, and are unaware of his influence on their 


Crossing The Abyss 

Despite his acknowledgment of Reuss as the conveyor of the hidden truth of 

sex magic, Crowley also claimed to have divined the underlying sex-mystical 

basis of all magic in 1905, while being serviced by a whore. Furthermore, a 

major turning point in his erotomagical initiation was based on a revelation 

bestowed to him in 1909, a few years before his encounter with Reuss's 

O.T.O. sexual teachings. This flash of insight occurred during a pilgrimage to 

Algeria, while engaged in a rite of desert buggery dedicated to the lascivious 

goat-god Pan. His partner in this working was one of his first followers, the 

British poet Victor Neuberg, with whom Crowley enjoyed a complex 

sadomasochistic bond. 

The masochistic context of almost all of Crowley's significant 

magical revelations has been evaded by many students of the Beast, but his 

incorporation of erotic pain and degradation into his initiation is perhaps his 


most original contribution to sex magical practice. Crowley and Neuburg's 

roles of Master and Slave were played out in theatrical guise during their 

North African journey. The Beast posed as a holy dervish, while he 

compelled Neuburg to play the role of a "tamed and trained demon" a djinn, 

under Crowley's command. Crowley wrote of Neuburg: "The more insanely 

and grotesquely he behaved, the more he inspired the inhabitants with respect 

for the Magician who had mastered so fantastic and. fearful a genie." It is 

typical of Crowley to claim that the locals gullibly fell for this act, since they 

"saw that I was a saint." It seems just as likely that the Algerians may have 

considered the couple to be nothing more than two insane Englishmen. 

Despite his many travels in the East and Africa, Crowley rarely viewed the 

denizens of those regions as much more than exotic, superstitious "savages." 

In an isolated desert wilderness, the two magicians celebrated an act 

of sex magic, during which Crowley claimed to have overcome the dualistic 

opposition between the spirit and the flesh, understanding that sex could be 

performed as a divine sacrament. Obviously, such a realization is one of the 

indispensable tenets of the left-hand path, so it will be worth our while to 

analyze this event and its impact on Crowleyan thought in some detail. 

Crowley, it must be realized, was writing in an era when homosexuality was 

still criminalized in England. (For instance, polite society looked askance at 

Neuberg for the rest of his life due to this youthful phase of experimentation 

with homosexuality.) Crowley only said publicly of his encounter with the 

incarnate Pan that it was "unlawful to speak openly under penalty of the most 

dreadful punishment: but I may say that the essence of the matter was that I 

had hitherto clung to certain conceptions of conduct of behavior which, while 

perfectly proper from the standpoint of my human nature, were impertinent to 

initiation. I could not cross the Abyss till I had torn them out of my heart." 

Beneath this discreet verbal veil, Crowley means that he had 

submitted to being anally fucked by his normally submissive disciple 

Neuburg, as a springboard to mystical realization (in this case, entrance to the 

Fourteenth Aire in Dr. John Dee's Enochian Calls). Crowley described the 

incident more vividly in his obscure homoerotic curiosity The Scented 

Garden Of Abdullah The Satirist Of Shir az: 

"In the hush of the sunset, come noiseless hoofs treading the enammled turf; 

and ere I know it a fierce lithe hairy body has gripped mine, and the dread 

wand of magic shudders its live way into my being, so that the foundations of 

the soul are shaken. The heavy breath and the rank kisses of a faun are on my 

neck, and his teeth fasten in my flesh - a terrible heave flings our bodies into 

mid-air with the athletic passion that unites us with the utmost God - 'hid i' 

the th'middle o' matter' - and the life of my strange lover boils within my 

bowels ... we fall back in ecstasy - somewhat like death - and the gasping 


murmur Pan! Pan! Io Pan! while the marmorean splendour before us turns 

into the last ray of sunlight his goodly smile upon our still and stricken 

It should be noted that Crowley's goal in this rite was not the construction of 
the independent and enduring god-like consciousness we have focused on as 

the ultimate goal of left-hand path sexual magic. On the contrary, he used 

the orgasm "somewhat like death" to dissolve "the ego" - that imprecise and 

troublesome word - into what he described as "the ocean of infinity." 

Indeed, Crowley explicitly states that to "cross the Abyss" without 

consciously destroying one's personality is to step irrevocably onto the lefthand 

path, as the understood it. 

Such a goal would have been the very opposite of his intentions, 

according to Crowley's worldview, shaped as it was by Blavatsky, orthodox 

Buddhism, and the cosmology of the Golden Dawn, the hermetic Order that 

provided his introduction to ceremonial magic. All of these religiophilosophies 

judged what they termed the left-hand path to be the decidedly 

wrong path, if for very different reasons. Any attempt to reconcile 

Crowleyan sex magick with the sinister current must take his own negative 

understanding of the left-hand path, and his self-definition as a follower of 

the right-hand path, into account. Of course, Crowley's emphasis on sexual 

mysticism and erotic rites alone would exclude him from the right-hand path 

in its authentic form, but these terms were already hopelessly confused in 

Western magical circles, even by Crowley's time. 

In any event, it was this Algerian anal epiphany that led Crowley to 

name himself to the degree of (8) = [3], Magistri Templi, according to the 

initiatory grade system of his own Order, the Argentinum Astrum, or Silver 

Star. Further discussion of the meaning of such grades is fairly irrelevant to 

our understanding of the left-hand path. However, our readers can easily 

determine for themselves whether Crowley really had dissolved his ego and 

personality into the ocean of impersonal nature after this pivotal sex magical 

rite that made him claim the grade of Master. One need only observe the 

remainder of Crowley's life after 1909, to be hit over the head with the 

undeniable fact that here was a man who retained a monumental ego and 

personality until his dying day. 

But Crowley's blustering megalomania was always offset with an 

equally powerful psychic counterweight. According to his frequent 

biographer John Symonds, when the nearly forgotten Crowley crossed his 

final abyss in 1947, reduced to a shabby existence in a cheap boarding 

house, a witness to the Beast's demise overheard his last words. "Sometimes 

I hate myself," an agitated Crowley muttered on his deathbed. 

While it can be misleading to attribute too much meaning to the 


terminal reflections of a dying man, a lifelong streak of self-loathing in 

Crowley's being must be kept in view as we explore his sex magical practice. 

Crowley's diaries often drop the inflated hyperbole of his public persona, 

revealing a tortured soul struggling with depression, boredom, drug 

addiction, and poverty. In our view, one need only read through the 
monotony of his journals, with their ceaseless accounts of misery, ennui and 

mindless spite to learn that for all of his claims to having reached 

superhuman states of initiation, Crowley remained an unenlightened person, 

a slave of his compulsions, flailing from one hopeless scheme to another. If 

Liberation is the end goal of left-hand path erotic initiation, then all of the 

Beast's arduous pansexual exertions seem to have missed the mark. 

The Beast And His Scarlet Women - A Harem Of Victims 

This significant 1909 sex magic working with Victor Neuberg, which 

Crowley interpreted as the demarcation point between existence as a human 

magician and life as a partially divine being, also underscores another way in 

which Crowleyan sex magick differs radically from traditional left-hand path 

practice as we have described it thus far. Crowley's most illuminating 

religioerotic transformations seem to have been realized as the result of his 

homosexual relations, while he clearly placed his magical couplings with 

females on a lesser level of importance. 

Certainly, the basic physical mechanism of orgasm and somatic bliss 

is the same regardless of which genders are involved with the process. But 

the different spiritual and subtle component operant in initiatory sex between 

same-sex (monopolar) and opposite-sex (bipolar) partners cannot be ignored 

as a factor in the left-hand path. In Crowley's case, his unique interpretation 

of the differences between male and female sexuality must also be placed in 

context with his unbridled loathing of the feminine principle in general and 

his contempt for women in particular that are such major themes in his life. 

Rather than being motivated by a conscious and positive desire to interact 

with same-sex psychosexual energy - which could potentially be useful for 

sex-magical initiation - Crowley's homosexual leanings often seem generated 

by a phobia in regards to female sexuality. This is spelled out, among other 

places, in his The Esoteric Record, an account of a later homosexual 

evocation of theurgic forms, also celebrated with Victor Neuburg. Crowley 

states that the use of women sexually "is more dangerous to the career of the 

magician" than sex-magic between male partners. (According to a Palestinian 

magician of our acquaintance, this belief is still held to among the secretive 

circles of mostly male sex magicians currently practicing in the Islamic 
world.) In his old age, Crowley wrote in his diary that contemplation of the 
vulva filled him with revulsion - an attitude inconceivable to the left-hand 

path adept. 


All this is not to say that Crowley wasn't profoundly attracted to 

women - at least as physical specimens useful for his purposes - but that 

attraction was convoluted by as pathological an expression of love/hate as 

can be imagined. Despite the countless female consorts he used as magical 

tools in his life, Crowley's deep-seated antipathy for womankind seems to 

have prevented him from ever understanding or accepting the Shakti principle 

intrinsic to the left-hand path, the way of woman. "Women," he mused, 

"should be brought to the back door like milk when needed." Not exactly the 

Goddess sexually revered in human form that we have seen is the base of the 

left-hand path experience. A telling quote from Crowley's own autobiography 

speaks volumes: "man is the guardian of the Life of God; woman but a 

temporary expedient; a shrine indeed for the God, but not the God." 

The divine force, for Crowley, could only be imagined as the phallus. 

His total identification with the lingam as the true creative power was as 

constitutional to him as was his disregard for the yoni as a mere accessory. 

He compared the shape of the human brain to the glans of the penis, 

obscurely theorizing that the similarity in shape indicated a parallel in 

function between the two organs. All visible creation flowed from the penis 

in the form of semen, he surmised, just as the brain created all thought. 
Crowley described the single tuft of hair on his shaved head as a phallic lock. 

His stylized signature was marked by the distinctly phallic "A" in Aleister, 

which he inscribed as a cartoon cock and balls. When performing his 

homosexual XI° grade of O.T.O anal sex magick, he sometimes envisioned 

himself as a deified penis discharging numinous seed. If his actions caused 

many to view him as something of a prick, Crowley would have gladly 


Crowley once observed that "women don't count, they only exist 

insofar as they seduce or otherwise destroy men." Mind you, millions of men 

in Crowley's era expressed an equally low opinion of the fairer sex, but such 

simplistic assessments of one half of the human sexual equation coming from 

a man who claimed to have transcended all profane mental restrictions must 

give one pause. More importantly, Crowley's philosophy of woman as a 

"temporary expedient" completely contradicts the centrality of the Feminine 

Daemonic to left-hand path liberation. In this respect, Crowley seems never 

to have advanced from the traditional Judaeo-Christian view of the female as 

"Adam's rib", God's secondary botched creation who tempted man from 

Eden. This view of womankind, like so much in his worldview, he would 

have learned in the Plymouth Brethren, the religious sect in which he was 

reared as a boy. 
It was during the constant Bible study in his childhood that Crowley 

first encountered the icon of the Scarlet Woman - our old friend 

lnanna/lshtar - in the form of the Whore of Babylon, that awesome 

harbinger of Apokaly pis, mounted on the Great Beast 666 of Revelations, 

whose cryptic number "is the number of a man." From this Christian 

distortion of a Mesopotamian myth, Crowley borrowed the central religious 

figure in his own personal cosmology. His mother, or so he claimed, was so 

scandalized by his adolescent dalliance with the family maid that she dubbed 

him the Beast, endowing him with his first and probably best known magical 

name. And what is the Beast without his mystery Whore, the Scarlet 


"O Blessed Beast, and thou Scarlet Woman of his desire," wrote 

Crowley, transfiguring the Biblical monstrosities into the holy contrasexual 

duality of Thelema with a stroke of his pen. In keeping with his sometimes 

eccentric interpretation of Kabbalistic numerology, Crowley spelled the 
Scarlet Woman's name as Babalon, a singular form he borrowed from John 
Dee's Enochian Aires. The number of Babalon, in Crowley's view, was 156, 

which he explained as symbolizing "constant copulation or samadhi on 

everything." This much is at least in keeping with Inanna's legendary carnal 

appetite, illustrated in Akkadian and Sumerian tales that describe her 

blissfully engaging in sex that lasts for "long days" until she is sated. 

For Thelemites, one of the primary symbols of Babalon is a vivid 

scarlet rose, its color suggesting the "blood of the saints" that fills the Cup of 


Fornications held aloft by the Whore of Babylon in Revelations. This 

vaginal rose is equated by Crowley with the symbol of the Rosy Cross so 

central to Rosicrucianism. (The crimson rose of Babalon also recalls the 

importance of the yonz-like scarlet hibiscus flower in the secret rite of the 

Varna Marga.) For Crowley, the saints whose blood had seeped into the 

flower were not the Christian martyrs. They were the Masters of the Temple, 

like himself, who had supposedly crossed the abyss by pouring every last 
drop of their Selves into the Universal Oneness, symbolized as blood/semen 

ejaculated into the Whore's vulva. 

Considering the importance of Beast and Babalon to his religion, it 

is curious that Crowley barely looked into the origins of these mythic 

beings. If he had, he would have learned that just as the Whore was 

lnanna/Ishtar/Astarte, the Beast 666 was also originally a feminine deity, the 

she-dragon Leviathan, derived from pre-Christian Sumerian lore concerning 

Tiamat, atavistic goddess of the deep. This ancient understanding of the 

Beast as a female force negates Crowley's self-definition of the Beast 666 as 

the quintessence of solar-phallic power, but then mythological scholarship 

was never the poetic romantic Crowley's strong suit. His do-it-yourself 

mythology inexplicably presented Babalon as an aspect of the Egyptian 

goddess of the night sky, Nuit, suggesting in The Book Of The Law that 

Babalon is Nuit's "secret name." Babalon, as a being of sheer lust, was also 

interpreted by Crowley as the feminine counterpart of Pan, the lascivious 

goat-god of ancient Greece. 

From henceforth, Crowley sought the Scarlet Woman in her human 

incarnation, beginning a futile quest for a projected inner ideal, a neverattainable 

anima that he found and then lost in hundreds of women. It would 

be wrong, however, to think of Crowley's vision of the Scarlet Woman as a 

soul mate - he was thoroughly uninterested in any woman's soul, and it is 

questionable whether he even thought women possessed souls at all. Often, 

to consecrate the ascension of these human women to Scarlet Womanhood 

he would paint his phallic Mark of the Beast between their breasts as a 

talisman of ownership which seems to contradict his own statement that 

"there shall be no property in human flesh." 

If Crowley were ever to have placed a lonely-hearts ad seeking a new 

Scarlet Woman, his criteria were plainly outlined in The Book Of The Law: 

"Let her work be the work of wickedness! ... Let her kill her heart! Let her be 

loud and adulterous!" When it comes down to it, Crowley's vision of the 

Scarlet Woman is the man-eating, ball-busting, femme fatale, the belle dame 

sans merci that dominated European art, poetry and literature of the 1890s, 

transformed into a magical idol. In fact, many Symbolist and Decadent artists 

created images of the Whore of Babylon that foreshadow Crowley's cult of 

the Scarlet Woman in their kitschy magnificence. Babalon can also be 

compared to the Gnostic Sophia, in that Crowley equated knowledge of the 
Whore with "Understanding" - with a capital "C", to provide a distinction 
from the mundane sense of the word - the wisdom that made the magician 
into a Master. This interpretation of sexual union with the Shakti would be 
understood by the Tantric Buddhist as well, who views his female partner as 

Vidya, the embodiment of wisdom. 

For a time, he would pluck some anonymous schoolteacher, 

prostitute, actress, or unsatisfied housewife from her drab existence and 

elevate her to the sacred Thelemic office of Scarlet Woman. Despite the 

grandeur of the title they assumed, almost none of the women Crowley 

selected to serve in this role were magicians in their own right. He much 

preferred to be the sole magical authority in the spotlight where his dealings 

with the opposite sex were concerned; only among his male disciples would 

he countenance anything like parity of knowledge. Crowley neither 

recognized nor desired spiritual or intellectual gifts in his mistresses - for 

him, women were incapable of genius, or even original thought. The only 

exception to this he would allow was among his few lesbian disciples, whose 

masculine characteristics he theorized might permit for a reflection of male 

mental prowess. 

Consider Crowley's description of one of his Scarlet Women, Boddie 

Minor, who he damns with faint praise by comparing her positive masculine 

traits to her feminine defects: "She was physically a magnificent animal, with 

a man's brain well stocked with general knowledge ... but despite every 

effort, there was still one dark corner in which her femininity had taken 

refuge and defied her to expel it." He frequently described his Scarlet Women 

as animals; some of his more notable Whores of Babalon he nicknamed the 

Cat, the Monkey, the Snake, and the Owl. These may seem like affectionate 

pet names, but Crowley, an enthusiastic hunter, had as little empathy for the 

animal kingdom as he did for the opposite sex. Whether quadruped or female 

biped, both species were regarded equally as pests to the Great Beast. 

Amateur psychology is one of the more odious afflictions of our 

age. Still, we find it hard to believe that Crowley's loudly expressed 

revulsion for his own mother - by his own account, a narrow-minded 

religious fanatic and "ignorant bigot" - was not a major impact on this 

crippling limitation in his psyche when it came to women. One look at 

Crowley's private diaries, and it becomes clear that his gynophobia was not 

merely an abstract philosophical affectation adopted to shock the genteel. 

His own description of his daily life is a grueling account of drunken, 

drugged rows, in which the Beast proudly portrays himself as endlessly 

battering and belittling, kicking and punching his luckless female 

companions. Not infrequently, he gloats over the beatings he has delivered 

to his paramours, much as he exults about his mindless torture of animals. 

Lest one romanticize the dreary situation, it must be made plain that the 


violence Crowley visited upon his magical and mundane mistresses was 

rarely the conscious and consensual practice of sex-magical dominance and 

submission that we will explore in the final chapter of this book. Rather, 


Crowley's sadism is a petty bullying of the weak, a grotesque parody of the 

pseudo-Nietzschean message of strength preached in his Book Of The Law. 

Crowley's abuse of women is one of the most glaring examples of 

behavior causing one to doubt his claimed attainment of higher states of 

consciousness. Naturally, the Master presented his thrashings of women as 

initiatory lessons designed to help his victim/students overcome their 
limitations. In fact, they appear to he merely out-of-control temper tantrums. 

In comparison to the heroic self-containment ideally sought by left-hand 

path initiation, Crowley's outbursts indicate a total lack of mental dominion 

over pashu instinct. Even more evidently, Crowley's compulsive brutality 

towards females contradicts an essential observation of Tantra made by a 

Muslim cited in the first section of this book: "this sect calls women shaktis 

(powers) and to ill-treat a shakti - that is, a woman - is held to be a crime." 

The tangible results of Crowleyan pedagogy speak for themselves; 
the two women who officially married him both became alcoholics, and died 
in insane asylums at an early age. The string of sad creatures whom Crowley 

lifted to the position of "Scarlet Woman" fared little better. In abstract 
theory, on paper, Crowley extolled the sacred nature of his Scarlet Women 

in the most extravagant purple prose, written in a style approximating 

Swinburne channeling the Old Testament: "Blessed be She, ay, blessed unto 

the Ages be our Lady Babalon, that plieth Her Scourge upon me ... that hath 

filled Her cup with every Drop of my Blood ... Behold, how she is drunken 

theron, and staggereth about the Heavens, wallowing in joy ... Is not She thy 

true Mother among the Stars, o my son, and hast not thou embraced Her in 

the Madness of Incest and Adultery?" 

No doubt this sort of thing was impressive, and even flattering, to 

the psychically vulnerable women Crowley tended to vampirize. But in 

practice, Crowley pressed his Scarlet Women into conditions of medieval 

servitude, true to his observation that "a woman is only tolerable in one's life 

if she is trained to help the man in his work without the slightest reference to 

any other interests." If that was the humble fate the Beast deemed best for 

human women, we should not be surprised that his vision of even such a 

commanding force of the Feminine Daemonic as Babalon was equally 

limited by his misogyny. In Magick, Crowley makes it clear that exalted 

being though She may be, even the Goddess has no more important task than 

"to help the man in his work." He wrote "And for this is Babalon under the 

power of the magician, that she hath submitted herself unto the work; and 

she guardeth the Abyss." 
When we think of the tremendous power once attributed to Babalon, 

in her earlier, purer forms of Innana, Ishtar and Astarte - those awe-inspiring 

deities of sacred war and holy lust - it becomes obvious how grossly 

diminished and deformed is the Crowleyan concept of Babalon that has 


become popularized in occult circles. If there is anything that the left-hand 

path adept working with the Babalon current learns, is that this proud 

Warrioress never submits to another's power. In fact, the ancient 

mythologies of manna and Ishtar attest to her independence from the 

servitude of any other being - she is the chaotic, disobedient spirit of 

freedom incarnate, on both the sexual and psychic levels. 

The contrast between Crowley's everyday disregard for living 

women and his idealized vision of the Goddesses distantly revered in his 

Thelemic pantheon is striking. For example, he bestowed his own daughter 

with the bombastic name Nuit Ma Ahathoor Hecate Sappho Jezebel Lilith, 

even while maintaining that females could never aspire to be much more 

than convenient apertures to satiate the lusts they aroused in men. (When his 

many-named child died at an early age, Crowley remarked that the cause of 

her death was "acute nomenclature.") 

Complicating the picture of Crowley as constitutionally gynophobic 

is his fervent desire to he sexually degraded and enslaved by his Scarlet 

Women during acts of sex magic. But even this masochistic impulse is an 

expression of his loathing of the feminine; by submitting to a woman, that 

lowliest of creatures, Crowley believed he was humbling himself to a gutter 

of shame even more debased than his mistress's own position in the cosmic 

scheme of things. We'll return to Crowley's application of sadomasochism to 

initiation, as well as his own conflicted understanding of the feminine side of 

his being. 

One can easily get the false impression that the archetypal Thelemic 

couple of Scarlet Woman and Beast is a Western form of the Shakti/Shiva 

polarity. Later renegade Thelemites, breaking from Crowleyan orthodoxy, 

did take steps to enact these iconic sexual god-forms in a more liberatory lefthand 

path mode. The Scarlet Woman archetype has since developed its own 

momentum among magicians, independent of Thelemic doctrine. But 

Crowley himself defined the Scarlet Woman merely as "any Woman that 

receives and transmits my Solar Word and Being." At her best, his female 

sexual partner could only hope to be a pale and passive moon reflecting the 

greater glory of her Master's solar rays - the oblation of his seed. 

The Ins And Outs Of Crowleyan Sex Magick 

Crowley's "Solar Word" was his Logos, as manifested in the Beast's holy 

semen, a divine gift the Scarlet Women were counted most fortunate to 

receive. Should she become impregnated by the Beast, the more profound 

were her blessings. Ironically, any contemporary fundamentalist Christian 

could heartily agree with Crowley's views on woman's proper and natureordained 

place as mother. Similarly, the Beast's zealous religious conviction 

that contraception and abortion were morally unacceptable would find favor 


with His Holiness the Pope. Underlying these "pro-life" aspects of the 

Crowleyan sexual teaching - which completely contradict the Thelemic 

endorsement of each individual's freedom to do what she will with her own 

body - is a belief that sperm is the sacred substance. 

Reading some of Crowley's commentary, it's apparent that he 

considered spermophagia - semen eating - to be nothing less than the key to 

immortality, as well as a boon to mystical Understanding. He understood 

semen to be the alchemist's "Blood of the Red Lion," the primordial matter 

containing the essence of all material and spiritual forms. Released from the 

Athanor, Crowley's alchemical code for the penis, into the retort (the vulva), 

semen becomes the elixir of life itself. Consume sperm, Crowley taught his 

inner circle, especially his sperm, and you consume the all and everything of 

creation, which he once described as the "fluid vehicle of the Spirit, the Elixir 

of Magick." Just as he thought that the spilling of animal blood was 

necessary for theurgic operations bringing god-forms to earth, he was 

convinced that ejaculation attracted invisible demons, which could 

conceivably take on substance through its life-creating powers. This idea 

mirrors Church demonological teachings concerning the succubus, which 

claimed that these sexually voracious elementals were given form from the 

magical properties of semen spilled during nocturnal emissions. 

Superficially, Crowley's near-idolatry of semen may seem to accord 

with the principles inspiring the sperm-retaining practice of some left-hand 

path adepts. A major difference is that the Tantrika seeks to draw on an 
invisible spiritual and psychically transformative inner power - the bindu - 

contained within the outer form of sperm. But Crowley's sex magick is 
unequivocally materialistic; he considered the physical matter of his semen 

itself to be magically potent. And of course, he considered its frequent 
ejaculation to be as necessary for attainment as some Tantrikas consider the 

withholding and externalizing of ejaculation. 

From the sinister current perspective, the natural procreative powers 

of the human body generated during ritualized sexual arousal and orgasm do 

not effect transformation ofmaya due to organic factors, such as the emission 

of semen. Magical change can be created because of the adept's redirection of 

the physical process of sexual creation to a subtle, psychic mode of being 

that manifests in the non-natural realm. 

One of the most controversial and misunderstood passages in 

Crowley's Magick In Theory And Practice, entitled "The Bloody Sacrifice 

and Matters Cognate" states that "a male child of perfect innocence and high 

intelligence is the most satisfactory and suitable victim." With tongue in 

cheek, he proceeds to write reverently of himself in the third person: "It 

appears from the Magical Records of Frater Perdurabo [one of Crowley's 

many magical names] that He made this particular sacrifice on an average of 

about 150 times every year between 1912 c.v. and 1928 e.v." The "male 
child" is of course his own seed, "sacrificed" through the working of sex 


Here we have some correspondence with the left-hand path idea of 

the semen as a sacrifice offered to the yonz-altar of the Goddess; but for 

Crowley, yoni and Goddess are both besides the point. Although Crowley's 

reference to the spilling of his semen as a sacrifice and his consumption of it 

as a eucharist resembles Eastern left-hand path erotic alchemy involving the 

libation and reimbibation of sexual fluid, Crowley differed from the Varna 

Marga interpretation due to his entirely phallocentric vision. The Scarlet 

Woman's sexual fluids could not compare in importance to his own. After all, 

she was but the "shrine" of the God - it was Crowley alone who was the 

God. In such a union, despite some similarities of method with the sinister 

current, it should be evident that the deeper principles are completely at 

variance with one another. 

Inspired by Reuss's earlier O.T.O. version of Spermo-Gnosticism, 

Crowley-cum was the central sacrament of Thelema, the equivalent of 

Christ's body consumed in human semen during the Gnostic Mass we 

described in the previous chapter. Indeed, one of the contributions Crowley 

made to Reuss's O.T.O. was his writing of a Gnostic Mass, literally dripping 

with not-so-cryptic sexual symbolism. 

Crowley adopted Reuss's theories to his own magical practice, and 

considered it essential to drink his own semen from the orifices of his Scarlet 

Women, primarily as a medium of sorcery. Like a connoisseur of fine wine, 

Crowley kept meticulous records documenting the exact consistency, flavor, 

and amount of his semen. Typical is this diary entry, written during his 

ruinous attempt at creating a Thelemic commune in Sicily: "Orgasm very 

strong and savage. Elixir, nearly all absorbed: Alostrael [the magical name of 

his longest-lasting Scarlet Woman, Leah Hirsig] could only get a few drops." 

Less enthusiastically, he might note: "Elixir, nothing special - good though 

when duly mixed." 

From such observations, he pronounced prophecies and divination. 

These auguries were rarely of a spiritual or initiatory nature - they tended to 

focus again on the material aspect of maya; impending windfalls of money, a 

new source for heroin, luck in some literary venture. Occasionally, an opus 

of sex magick was dedicated to such vague aspirations as "Rededication of 

myself to my prophetic mission," "establishment of the Law of Thelema" or 

even the surely needless request for "lust and the power of lust." Whatever 

the Beastly wish may have been, he usually shouted it out at the moment of 

orgasm, a much more assertive version of Randolph's "nuptive moment." In 

the many records of these sorcerous couplings that Crowley left behind, one 

does not get the impression that much in the way of mental imagery or 

psychic focus was going on; Crowley seems to have considered a strong 

orgasm and a bellowed wish sufficient to do the trick. (The exception to this 

is his sexual invocations of god-forms, during which he theoretically 
transferred his consciousness to the mind of the imagined god at the moment 

of climax.) 

As for Crowley's form of union with his partners, this was usually 

entirely conventional penetration of one orifice or the other; the prolonged 

state of ecstasy sought by left-hand path adepts was apparently not of interest 

to him. His diary, The Magical Record Of The Beast 666, among other 

private journals, provides us with a fairly complete account of his sex 

magickal practice. In these chronicles, we learn that many of Crowley's 

sexual partners were completely unaware that they were participating in any 

kind of magic at all. (We will discuss the possible benefits and disadvantages 

of sex magic with an unknowing accomplice in a later chapter.) For all of the 

relatively more formal workings of the "Royal Art" with his various Scarlet 

Women, there are just as many hurried XI° buggeries with unknown men in 

Turkish baths, encounters with apathetic prostitutes, and other anonymous 

quickies. These abbreviated trysts would hardly seem to allow time for the 

attainment of the altered state of consciousness magic requires, let alone the 

cultivation of ecstasy. Of course, the mark of a genuine magician is the 

ability to create alteration of maya under any circumstances, eventually 

transcending the need for visible ritual altogether. We leave it to our readers 

to decide if this was the case with Crowley, or if some of the nameless 

ruttings to which he ascribed initiatory significance were merely non-magical 

outlets to assuage what he once described as his "blind, horrible ache for 

[sexual] relief." 

Crowley is constantly comparing the strenuous orgasms he 

undergoes during his workings to near-death experiences - a juxtaposition of 

death and Eros we have already encountered in the traditional left-hand path. 

"The most favorable physical death is that occurring during the orgasm," the 

Beast cryptically wrote, hinting at one of his most frequently employed 

methods of consciousness alteration. His rapturous descriptions of utter 

physical exhaustion after his couplings reflect an important part of his 

magical teaching in the O.T.O. In his De Arte Magica, he advises the adept 

to deliberately exhaust the body during coitus, so that the aforementioned 

trance of "eroto-comatose lucidity" can take hold of the consciousness. In 

this state, Crowley or his partners - usually with a little chemical assistance - 

would attempt to separate the subtle body from the depleted carnal shell to 

travel on the astral plane. In the left-hand path rite, it is the prolonged union 

of sexual opposites, and the sustained exchange of sexual energy that 

transforms the couple's psyche. 
In Crowleyan sex magick, the union and the orgasm are often only 

mechanisms to allow for the more important post-coital trance to take place. 


Sinister current initiates should experiment with both modes, although the 

extended full-body orgasm of the left-hand path rite is intended to greatly 

increase energy and wakefulness, rather than leading to the fatigued reverie 

Crowley sought to achieve. In his desire to be thoroughly and utterly 

exhausted unto the brink of death by orgasm, the note of bodily mortification 

and self-abnegation that runs through all of Crowley's work seems evident. 

Since he obviously regards sex as an inherently "bad" activity, to be enjoyed 

only in spite of itself as a religious obligation, it is not surprising that so 

much psychic strain would lead to post-coital depletion rather than the 

increased alertness desired by left-hand path adepts. 

In complete contrast to this technique, the Beast sometimes used sex 

as a muse, engaging in hours of sex to inspire his creative, rather than simply 

seminal juices to flow. After one particularly strenuous tryst with a married 

woman during his Mexican sojourn, Crowley was inspired to a marathon 

sixty-seven hour writing session. The result was Tannhauser, an impassioned 

drama in verse inspired by Wagner's opera, which takes the form of dialogue 

between the goddess of Love Venus, and the bewitched knight Tannhauser. 

Crowley, like the left-hand path initiate, sometimes used sex to rend 

the veil of maya, and transcend outer appearance and inner programming. He 

advised, for instance, that "One might have a liaison with an ugly old woman 

until one beheld and loved the star which she is." During one New York visit, 

he posed as an artist advertising for crippled, hunchbacked, or otherwise "as 

ugly as possible" models - the art he had in mind was the Royal Art of sex 

magick. The Varna Marga adept, as we have described earlier, uses similar 

methods of awakening and consummating desire with partners customarily 

repellent to one's aesthetic conditioning and natural inclination. 

Crowley also used semi-public displays of sexuality to shock his 

more reserved students into initiatory insight. Israel Regardie, shortly after 

taking on the job of Beastly secretary, recalled witnessing his guru and the 

latest Scarlet Woman "fucking like animals" on the floor in his presence, 

shortly after their introduction. Regardie later took umbrage at one of his 

teacher's anti-semitic remarks, but continued his exploration of orgasmic 

liberation as a Reichian therapist. Crowley's more charitable admirers have 

suggested that the Beast deliberately drove away his most devoted disciples 

as a method of assisting them to find their true wills. This seems unlikely, 

considering how urgently he needed his followers' financial support, but 

cannot be ruled out altogether. 

In the stead of more durable and disciplined techniques of psyche 

expansion, and despite his rather erratic dabbling with yoga, Crowley was 

wont to fuel his sex magick with the copious use of cocaine, opium, ether, 

and hashish. His fondness for ether was such that many first-hand accounts 

from those who knew the Beast describe the distinctively caustic odor of the 


drug preceding his entry to a room, and lingering long after he left. (His 

addiction to heroin, which decreases the libido, cannot really be adjudged as 

an aphrodisiac or consciousness-altering aid to sex magic.) The Eastern lefthand 

path tradition also makes precise use of the psychoactive effects of 

wine, and hemp-based THC substances, under the aegis of Shiva, the lord of 

mind-manifesting potions. But it is this very precision which differentiates 

left-hand path ritual intoxication from Crowley's uninterrupted and 

undisciplined assault on his nervous system with a pharmacy of chemicals. 

Crowley was clearly medicating himself throughout the day in an attempt to 

make life more bearable; far from awakening him to see beyond the 

delusions of maya, his drug use seems only to have perpetuated his selfdeceptions. 

At least in his youth, Crowley balanced his prodigious drug 

intake with strenuous exercise, taking on such physical challenges as 

mountain-climbing and other athletic pursuits. But one almost never hears of 

Uncle Aleister's followers tackling Mount Kilimanjaro in imitation of their 

Master; they usually settle for the easier route of mimicking his wellcultivated 

"dope fiend" image. 

If the practices outlined above led to the fulfillment of any of the 

tangible needs Crowley used his sex magick to meet, we might well 

recommend his methods as viable. But from a pragmatic perspective, even if 

Crowley must be counted as the most famous twentieth century sex 

magician, he cannot really be rated as a particularly effective sex magician. 

Despite Crowley's constant performance of sex magick and consumption of 

his elixir, as documented in his magical journals, the much needed "gold" and 

"victory" he incessantly petitions the gods for rarely, if ever, materialize. 

Perhaps the Beast's extravagant will for self-destruction, an undeniable 

component of the psychic and physical masochism so central to his being, 

had more force than his temporal need, for survival and worldly success. 

Magicians must be keenly aware of the deep, often hidden, needs that 

motivate them rather than the superficial passions they are focused on at the 

moment. Crowley, often a deft psychologist in interpreting his students, 

appeared to be strangely oblivious to what made his own complicated 

psychic mechanism tick. 

It may also be that he simply overdid it. It has been our observation 

that magicians who perform sex magical operations on an almost daily basis 

- as Crowley tended to do - can burn out very rapidly. Also, Crowley's 

penchant for a working-a-day left him with little room for reflection; his 

frantic activity allowed nothing to develop in time. Although he gave the 

very useful hit of hypothetical advice that magic should be performed 

without "lust for result," in practice Crowley was impatient in the extreme for 

immediate results. As soon as the last drop of his "Solar Word" has spurted 

out, he is eagerly examining its taste for omens, consulting his ever-handy I 

Ching yarrow sticks, searching for Kabbalistic correspondences, or drawing 
out astrological charts; all in an attempt to ascertain the prospect for results. 

The importance of sperm as an agent of magical change in 

Crowleyan sex magick is attested to in Crowley's Emblems And Modes Of 

Use, a brief document that was once considered the greatest secret of the 

Beast's ersatz O.T.O.. Why such secrecy has been accorded to this simple 

instructional text is hard to imagine, since the method of sympathetic sex 

magic it recommends has been known to primitive shamans and sorcerers 

around the world since the earliest times. Nevertheless, knowledge of the 

mystery revealed in this paper was once inexplicably considered tantamount 

to claim of a high degree of initiation among some of the competing O.T.Os 

that have followed in the Great Beast's footsteps. In so many words, Crowley 

advises the magician to bedaub a sigil or talismanic device with his sperm, 

scooped out of his partner's vagina after coitus. The demon and elementalmagnetic 

properties of the sperm will supposedly draw such beings into the 

sigil, manifesting the sorcerer's desire. This is much the same age-old 

principle that we have described in Chapter Three's account of the Arabic rite 

in which a couple's menstrual blood and sperm are mixed on a fabric, and 

then burnt, for the purpose of attracting djinn. 

One of Crowley's many Quixotic get-rich-quick schemes, dating 

from his wretched latter years, provides us with a pertinent example of his 

bias for the male sexual principle and its physical expression in semen, over 

the sinister Feminine Daemonic and its elixirs. At one desperate juncture in 

his life, Crowley tried to market vials of his semen as a wonder medicine. He 

appropriated the Indian left-hand, path name Amrita - the elixir of life - for 

this product. Of course, in the Varna Marga, the word Amrita usually 

designates the sexual secretions of the female shakti, not her male partner's 

semen alone. And in Tantra, the act of consuming the combined sexual fluids 

is the outer symbol of a spiritual alchemy of opposites, designed to seal an 

inner transformation; it is not typically a form of divination or sorcery 

The secret rite of the Varna Marga is a spiritual and physical 

exchange of prolonged ecstasy flowing between the bipolar halves of divinity 

manifested in the forces of Shiva and Shakti. Crowleyan sex magick is a 

much more one-sided action, in which the male ejaculation is really all that 


For all of the emphasis on sperm in the Crowley cult, female 

secretions do play a part - even if a far lesser one - in some Thelemite sex 

magick. One of the oracular commandments in The Book Of The Law 

proclaims that "the best blood is of the moon, monthly." This fairly 

transparent reference to menstrual blood has led Crowleyans to craft holy 

wafers made of menstrual blood and sperm; these "cakes of light" are the 

eucharist meal consumed by celebrants of some versions of the Crowleyan 


Gnostic Mass. The Mass of menstrual blood and semen can be traced to the 

Gnostic libertine practices previously described as a juxtaposition of the 

right-hand Logos and the left-hand Sophia. The "light" consumed in the 

cakes of light is that spark of divinity, central to Gnostic soulcraft. 

Considering that such a mixture of bodily fluids can conceivably be fatal in 

the era of AIDS, some modern-day Crowleyans bake these eucharist cakes at 

temperatures high enough to theoretically kill the virus - a safe-sex magick 

precaution the Beast never had to consider. 

The Palace Of Shit And The Eye Of Horus 

As unappetizing as these sperm and blood cakes of light may seem to some, 

the ingredients required for Crowley's private celebration of Thelemic 

eucharist is even more of an acquired taste. In his Magical Record Of The 

Beast, dating from 1920, he writes that "In my Mass the Host is of 

excrement, that I can consume in awe and adoration." 

Crowley's employment of shit, both human and animal, as a magical 

condiment, obviously bears comparison with the practices of the extreme 

left-hand path sects of India, who include ritualized coprophagia in their 

methodical overcoming of societal taboo and personal disgust. In his 1929 

Magick In Theory And Practice, Crowley gives advice to the aspirant 
magician that would be familiar to the left-hand path adept. He recommends 

"training the mind and body to confront things which cause fear, pain, 
disgust, shame, and the like. He must learn to endure them, then to become 

indifferent to them, then to analyse them until they give pleasure and 
instruction, and finally to appreciate them for their own sake, as aspects of 


"When this has been done," Crowley sensibly suggests, "he should 

abandon them if they are really harmful in relation to health or comfort." As 

is so often the case, the Beast offered others sage counsel he himself often 

ignored to his peril. 

Crowley's records make no mention of the use of excrement in 

Tantric alchemy, which, in any event, is not connected to the blasphemy of 

Catholic ceremony suggested by Crowley His practice of a "Mass... [thats] 

...Host is of excrement" also recalls more familiar European accounts of the 

Black Sabbath, in which Satanists were described as eating fecal wafers in 

mockery of the Catholic Mass. But these accounts of Satanic coprophagia 

were most likely fantasies concocted by Christian witch-hunters rather than a 

true left-hand path tradition of reversed rites. The infamous nineteenth 
century French Satanists, the Abbe Boullan and his mistress Adele Chevalier, 

a former nun, did offer hosts of excrement to their flock in the Church of 

Carmel, as part of their dutiful acting out of medieval Christian nightmares of 

diablerie. However, Crowley, for all of his reactionary tirades against 

orthodox Christianity, was not operating from Boullan's Satanic view - he 

had more personal magical motivations. 

Just as Crowley attributed distinct magical powers to semen, as a 

vivifying force of astral intelligences, he also seemed to believe that the 

alchemical mingling of sperm, excrement, and the not infrequent bleeding of 

the ruptured rectum during anal intercourse created a material essence in 

which daemonic and elemental entities could take shape. (We would be 

remiss were we not to point out that the incorporeal organism this mixture is 

most likely to conjure today is called. AIDS.) 

Crowley's statement that he had "driven [himself] to delight in dirt 

and disgusting debauches, and to devour human excrements and human 

flesh" would suggest that, like the Aghori initiate, he had to force himself to 

break his own natural inclinations to perform this act so repugnant to the 

majority of mankind. However, Crowley evidenced such a palpable 

enthusiasm for excrement from a fairly early age that this often ignored 

aspect of his religious teaching may have just as well have been simply one 

of his many personal fetishes. A fascination with the erotic potential of 

human waste emerges in his work as early as 1898, when the twenty-two year 

old Crowley published his first book of poetry. In that volume, he was 

already celebrating feces in these self -deprecatory lines: 

All degradation, all sheer infamy; 

Thou shalt endure. Thy head beneath the mire 

and dung of worthless women shall desire 

As in some hateful dream, at last to lie; 

Woman must trample thee till thou respire 

That deadliest fume; 

This may seem at first like poetic posing in the decadent style of the time, but 

Crowley practiced what he preached. His magical experiments with the 

"dung of worthless women" are well-documented, especially during his 

attempt to institute a "Collegium ad Spiritual Sanctum," the Abbey of 

Thelema, on the island of Cefalu, Sicily. During one rite of subservience to 

his Scarlet Woman of the time, Leah Hirsig, Crowley obeyed her request to 

eat her shit from a silver platter as a sign of his devotion to the Whore of 

Babalon incarnate. To seal the rite, she burnt her Beast's breast with a 
smoldering cigarette. Crowley exulted that "'tis joy to be splashed with the 

mire of her Triumph." Golden showers were also incorporated into the 

couple's sadomasochistic sex-magical operations, as this Crowley-penned 

paean to his Scarlet Woman illustrates: "Straddle your Beast, My Masterful 

Bitch ... Now from your wide Raw cunt, the abyss / Send spouting the tide / 

Of your sizzling piss / In my mouth; oh my whore / Let it pour, let it pour!" 


We have described how and why Eastern Varna Marga adepts, in 

their attempt to make sacred even those aspects of physical existence that are 

generally shunned, consider all rejected matter, including excrement, urine, 

menstrual blood and the contemplation of corpses in the burning ground as 

possible tools of liberation. Although Crowley seemed unaware of this 

element of Tantric teaching, the similarities to his own fascination with 

coprophilia and urolagnia bear comparison. 

When one of Crowley's students, Mary Butts - a name eminently 

suited for the Beast's singular approach to initiation - arrived for tutelage at 

the Abbey of Thelema, her Master welcomed her with the offering of a goat's 

turd on a plate. Whether Crowley presented her with this repast as a genuine 

test of her commitment to the Great Work or simply as an indulgence of his 

prankish schoolboy humor cannot be said with certainty. Butts was soon a 

witness to one of Crowley's less successful rituals, an attempt to induce a hegoat 

symbolizing the fabled Goat of Mendes to copulate with the haggard 

body of his much-abused Scarlet Woman, Leah Hirsig. Despite all efforts to 

coax the goat to perform his sacred function, the animal remained indifferent 

to Babalon's allure. Falling into one of his frequent fits of rage, an 

exasperated Crowley slit the goat's throat, and was soaked with the creature's 

spraying blood. 

"What shall I do now?" asked a flustered Crowley. 

"I'd have a bath if I were you," Butts responded, with aplomb. 

One of the explanations Crowley gave for his archaic spelling of 

magick with a k, was that the k symbolized kteis, Greek for the female 

genitals. And yet even this apparent left-hand path reverence for the yoni as 

matrix of maya is not demonstrated in practice. The female genitals - not to 

mention the female magician those genitals are attached to - are accorded an 

extremely inferior role in Crowley's Thelemic sex magick. Without doubt, 

this subordinate status of the female sexual partner and her vulva in the 

Crowleyan system is in keeping with Crowley's innate disdain for the 

feminine. But it's also rooted in the Great Beast's personal preference for an 

orifice he found infinitely more fascinating than the vagina. The cynical may 

be of the opinion that Thelemic sex magick is a religion dedicated to 
worshipping an asshole - one Aleister Crowley by name. But it is a fact that 
one of the key doctrines of Crowleyan sex magick is a worship of the anus, 

and all of its functions. 

Translating his predilection into ancient Egyptian terms, one ardent 

bout of anal sex once moved the Beast to jot in his diary: "Oh, how superior 

is the Eye of Horus to the Mouth of Isis!" Here, Crowley is not only 

identifying the anus with the god Horus, who was anally violated by his 

uncle Set; he is also praising the superiority of his self-proclaimed Aeon of 

Horus, the child, over the earlier Aeon of Isis, the Mother. The Mouth of Isis 


was a common archaism for the vulva. 

Elsewhere in his magical journals, Crowley expressed the same 

thought in the arcane symbolism of the O.T.O., "I am inclined to believe that 

the Xlth degree is better than the IXth degree." The XI° is the highest degree 

of Crowley's version of O.T.O. sex magick, signifying anal sex, usually of a 

homosexual nature. The addition of anal congress to Reuss's pre-existing 

O.T.O. repertoire was one of Crowley's major innovations to the Order. The 

IX°, as we have mentioned, was the grade of male-female genital sex magic, 

which Crowley consistently believed to he of far less magical power than his 

beloved buggery. In his Liber CXCIV, a once secret O.T.O. document 

prepared by Crowley in 1919, he hints at the exalted place which the 

mysteries of the anus held in his magical scheme: "Of the Eleventh Degree, 

its powers, privileges, and qualifications, nothing whatever is said in any 

grade. It has no relation to the general plan of the Order, is inscrutable, and 

dwells in its own palace." 

Another aspect of Crowley's magical understanding of the XI° in his 

sex magick is the theme of anal birth, an abstruse theme he returns to several 

times in his writings. The sex-magical creation of demonic/elemental entities 

by mingling secretions in the anus - as opposed to the more common concept 

of the vaginal generation of such beings - is an important facet of the Beast's 

practice. Although Crowley also provided his students with traditional 

instructions for the birth of a homunculus or "moonchild" to be conceived 

heterosexually, he believed a daemonic creature spawned through anal sex 

magick would he of a much higher order, a "Spirit ... partaking of both 
natures, yet boundless and impersonal because it is a bodiless creation of a 

wholly divine nature" 

Crowley was intrigued with the Middle Eastern sex-magical tradition 

dating back to ancient Egypt which posits the breeding of psychic 

intelligences via male homosexual union. He writes in his privately printed 

1910 paean to buggery, The Scented Garden Of Abdullah The Satirist Of 

Shiraz: "When the power of the Crescent menaced that of the Cross, sodomy 

was put down with Draconian rigour because the Turks believed that the 

Messiah (a reincarnation of Jesus) would be born of the love between two 

men. Sodomy was thus a religious duty with the Turk; at any moment his 
passion might be used to bring about the millennium; so with the Christian it 

became heresy, and was punished as such." 

As always, Crowley's primary intention is to shock any Christian who 

may have inadvertently stumbled upon his writings. His claim that "sodomy 

was a religious duty" is wishful thinking that would find little agreement 

among scholars of Islam, despite the prevalent British slang word "Turking" 

to describe anal intercourse. Almost forty years later, a diary entry recording 

a waking nightmare reveals that the Beast's always cloacal imagination is still 


gripped by the concept: "A most frightful semi-dream (between two normal 

motions) of giving birth to a foetus per anum. It was a mass of blood and 

slime. The nastiest Qliphotic experience I can remember." 

Through the eyes of the Varna Marga initiate, who experiences the 

entire human body as the Temple of the Nine Gates, Crowley's religious 

fixation on this orifice is no stranger than the more traditional left-hand path 

veneration of yoni and lingam. If we are to give Crowley the benefit of the 

doubt, and assume that his anal mania, like his coprophilia, is based on 

something other than personal fetishism, it must be admitted that all religious 

ideas - even anus worship - can only be interpreted subjectively. And yet, 

throughout his magical diaries, Crowley repeatedly notes that this or that 

magical working was performed per vas nefandum, "by the unmentionable 

vessel" - his favored Latin euphemism for anal intercourse. Even if in jest, 

his constant use of such a disparaging term for an activity to which he 

supposedly accords sacred status seems contradictory, if not simply puerile. 

One comes away with the impression that Crowley's preference for the 

inverse opening is based as much on the social stigma then commonly 

associated with its enjoyment as any more mystical rationale. 

Compulsory Sin 

One of the glaring weaknesses in Crowley's practice of sex magic is his 

apparent inability to transcend his need to be a very bad boy. Breaking taboos 

is of course important to left-hand path initiation, but the Beast, for all his 

talk of liberation, seemed stuck in the futile recreation of the initial 
transgression of taboo, which is only a preliminary step in self-deification. 

He didn't make the necessary progression to truly transcending the 

conditioning that grants any taboo its power in the first place. Crowley once 

wrote ambitiously to his follower Norman Mudd: "my whole plan is to clean 

all germs out of the sexual wound ... My object is not merely to disgust but to 

root out ruthlessly the sense of sin." But without the sensation of vice or 
perversity to goad him on, Crowley seemed uninspired - it is doubtful that he 

ever erased the "sense of sin" he inherited from his puritanical Plymouth 

Brethren family, despite his Herculean efforts to do so. This is not so much a 

criticism of Crowley as an indictment of the lasting psychic injuries such sexnegative 

creeds can inflict on their young victims. 

How deeply the sense of sin was imbedded in Crowley's 

psychosexual programming - despite all outward appearances - can be 

ascertained by the curious fact that he maintained that sex performed for any 

other reasons than the Great Work of initiation was immoral. Despite his 

seemingly sincere conviction that homosexual anal sex allowed for the zenith 

of magical attainment, he wrote reprovingly in his Magical Record Of The 

Beast that "homosexuality is an infirmity" Elsewhere, he condemned any act 


of male-to-male sodomy dedicated not to magic but for pleasure alone as 

"abominable." These stern admonishments of erotic pleasure for its own 

sake, and many more besides, were recorded in his private writings. So we 

must assume that they reflect Crowley's actual beliefs, and are not simply 

propaganda designed to make his sex magick appear more acceptable to the 


Those who dismiss Crowley as a mere libertine and hedonist are 

mistaken - no matter how far he goes in his nearly scientific personal 

exploration of every imaginable debauchery, he can never escape from the 

shadow of sin that is his patrimony. If the Plymouth Brethren of his youth 

preached that sex for any purpose other than the Christian duty of procreation 

was sinful, then the sexual morality of Crowley's own synthetic Thelemic 

religion is equally restrictive. In both sects, whether dedicated to the Magus 

Christ or the Magus Crowley, Eros outside the boundaries of the faith is 

anathema to the true believer. The fact that one sect is based on such notions 

as a virgin birth and celibate angels and the other is dedicated to ritual shiteating 

and the magical powers of sperm is really only a technicality. 

Crowley's Thelema, with its obligatory Mass and wafer, its Saints, its Book, 

its Law, its catechisms and its Prophet, can be viewed as a kind of quasi- 
Christian sect in itself. Both theologies share the Beast 666 and Whore of the 

Apocalypse as central figures. And despite the lingering confusion that 

would label Crowley a "Satanist," a full study of his work makes it evident 

that he is much more of a Gnostic Christian who fully accepts the divinity of 

Christ in his creed. 

The sexologists Eberhard and Phyllis Kronhausen, witnessing some 

of the desperate failings of the 1960s sexual revolution, once remarked that 

"there is nothing more depressing than the pretense of sexual freedom on the 

part of reactionary and guilt-ridden people who are acting under the 

compulsion of taboos rather than from genuine joie de vivre." 

This observation is just as pertinent to the arch-reactionary Crowley, 

who in so many ways anticipated the attempt of middle-class Western youth 

to overcome their upbringing through the collective drugged mystical orgia 

of the 1960s. One also comes away depressed from a consideration of the 

Beast's decades of exhaustively reported sexual adventures - there is so little 

sense of joy, delight, or freedom in the compulsive nature of his couplings. 

What the Old and New Testaments so zealously condemn, Crowley's Book 

Of The Law just as devoutly makes mandatory. But both extremes are 

informed by the same autocratic spirit of - Thou Shalt Not" - a spirit that 

cannot be reconciled with left-hand path liberation from all such 

hallucinatory commandments. 
Alys And Aleister - Punishing The Inner Whore 


In light of Crowley's rejection of the Shakti principle, as expressed in the 

inferior role he accorded women in his system of sex magick, it is ironic that 

few modern male magicians have explored their own feminine sides with 

such intensity. Crowley was very much aware of the Jungian anima within 

him from a very early age. And like Jung - who he referred to 

contemptuously as "Junk" - he recommended that his students of either 

gender should develop the qualities of the contrasexual opposite sex within 

their beings as a necessary means of creating psychic balance. The 

correspondence of this practice to the universal sinister current bears 


In Thelema, the Beast and Babalon are one obvious pair of 

contrasexual forces that can he compared to Tantric Shiva and Shakti, 

Gnostic Logos and Sophia, Taoist Yin and Yang. But it is probably closer to 

Crowley's own understanding to say that he envisioned the universal 

feminine in the form of Nuit, the ancient Egyptian goddess of the starry night 

sky. The masculine principle he designated as an invented male solar divinity 

he rather obscurely called Hadit, although the Egyptian pantheon actually 

includes no such deity. For Crowley, Nuit represented Shakti-like darkness 

and matter, the phenomenal universe perceived by human senses, and Hadit 

symbolized solar light and motion, a Shiva-like invisible consciousness. 

Through sex magick, his theory that "these two infinities can not exist apart" 

is demonstrated in physical form as Nuit and Hadit are drawn to each other 

by desire "unit[ing] in explosive rapture" in an "explosive holocaust". But 

Crowley also instructed his disciples to unite these forces within themselves, 

through workings of esoteric Hermaphroditism. 

The name hermaphrodite blends the names of the love goddess 

Aphrodite and Hermes, messenger of the gods. An Hellenic legend tells us 

that the son of these deities, Hermaphroditos, inspired such fervent passion in 

the nymph Salmacis that she desired total union with him, a longing which 

fused their bodies into one being. Crowley, product of a classical education, 

would have been well aware of this myth. 

As much as the Beast admired the virile, rational, athletic type, as he 

described himself, he acknowledged that even he would be imperfect without 

cultivating the contrary feminine traits. He was of course less convinced that 

women were capable of acquiring the characteristics he understood as 

masculine, such as intelligence, logic, and force of will, but he encouraged 

them to try anyway. The importance of a Kundalini-like hermaphroditism in 

Crowleyan thought is also indicated by his strong identification with the 

bisexual god/dess of the Templars, Baphomet, who he described as "the 

androgyne who is the hieroglyph of arcane perfection." He sometimes 

speculated that his prophesied Aeon of Horus would contrast with the 

previous Aeons of Isis, the mother, and Osiris, the father, in that Horus 

represented a Dionysian androgynous child of both sexes. In this aspect of his 
teaching, the Beast reflected his immersion in the alchemical and Rosicrucian 
notion of the inner androgyne, a doctrine thats similarity to the left-hand path 

has already been discussed. 

This reconciliation of opposites, as manifested in his own spirit, 

Crowley once described as "Male-female, quintessential, one, Man-being 

veiled in Woman-form." On the physical plane, he made note of a 

"hermaphroditism in my physical structure," which he sometimes ascribed to 

his many prior reincarnations as women. Among the reincarnations Crowley 

claimed to have remembered through the visionary results of sex magic was 

his ancient existence as a sacred prostitute, named Astarte or Artemis, slave 

of the goddess in an ancient Sicilian Temple. (The origins of the Whore of 

Babylon in the goddess Astarte may well have played a part in the details of 

this past life.) Like so many of the tragic previous selves Crowley recalled, 

this sacred courtesan died a violent death. Whether Crowley actually believed 

this tale or not is actually irrelevant to our purposes. The psychological value 

of his putative recollection lays in its revelation of a key element of 

Crowley's understanding of his own anima. Invariably, he envisioned the 

female side of his soul as a whore deserving of punishment and even death. 

Indeed, Crowley's awakening of his interior Feminine Daemonic 

seemed almost entirely dedicated to subjecting "her" to his masochistic desire 

for sexual chastisement. We will outline in full the practical application of 

consensual erotically charged pain and submission to left-hand path selftransformation 

in a later chapter. But a brief consideration of Crowley's 
experiments in this neglected area of sex magic makes for a useful 

introduction to these methods. 

Among Crowley's many magical identities, ranging from Frater 

Perdurabo, the Master Therion, and Baphomet, not the least important to him 

was the feminine alter ego he transformed himself into during these 

sadomasochistic rites of androgyny. He personalized his inner feminine 

shadow with the name Alys. Alys, according to Crowley, was not only the 

quintessence of the prostitute, she was also a "tribade", an archaic word for a 

lesbian derived from the Greek tribein, to rub. In The Magical Record of 

1920, Crowley carefully reported a cocaine-fueled all-night working, in 

which Alys/Aleister assumed the submissive "femme" role in a rite 

performed with Leah Hirsig at the Abbey of Thelema. He describes how his 

Scarlet Woman "tore from me the last rag of manhood" in a "frightful ordeal 

of cruelty and defilement." The grand finale of this extended act of gendertransformative 

slavery was the previously described forced feeding on his 
mistress's feces as a "Host ... of excrement, that I can consume in awe and 

Like so many components of the Beast's sex-magical methodology, 


even his histrionically expressed passion for "bleed[ing] under the whip's 

lash" can he traced to his strict religious upbringing among the Plymouth 

Brethren. While attending the sect's rigorously disciplined school, the often 

disobedient young Crowley acquired a life-long taste for being flogged with 

the birch - a predilection the French have long since labeled the vice anglais. 

It should be noted that despite his masochistic tendencies, Crowley most 

commonly assumed the role of the dominant in his sexual opera - his desire 

to hurt and be hurt were part of a continuum. And like many masochists, he 

was always really in charge of these ritual humiliations, despite his seeming 

subservience to the Scarlet Woman/dominatrix. Crowley's comment that "I 

drown in delight at the thought that I who have been Master of the Universe 

should lie beneath Her feet, Her slave..." makes it evident that his acts of 

sexual submission were partly designed to illustrate the superiority of his 

state of being, if only by contrast with his temporary reduction to abject 

slavery. Even non-magical rites of dominance and submission are rarely as 

clear-cut as they may seem at first; when magic is brought into play, the 

power dynamics involved are even more complex. 

Elsewhere, Crowley declares his submissive devotion to Babalon, 

longing "to abase my Godhead before my lady I want my crown crushed by 

Her feet; I want my face fouled by Her spittle. I want my heart torn by Her 

boot-heel ... my soul to be her privy" In another diary entry, Crowley 

addresses his "Holy Guardian Angel" Aiwass, the unknown superior who 

dictated The Book Of The Law, in similar terms, assuming the persona of a 

debased prostitute: "I am to Thee the harlot, crowned with poison and gold, 

my garment many-coloured, soiled with shame and smeared with blood, who 

for no price but of wantonness have prostituted myself to all that lusted after 

me ... I have made my flesh rotten, my blood venomous, my brain hagridden, 

I have infected the round world with corruption." 

Crowley's self-identification with the archetype of the prostitute as 

contagious carrier of "the venomous blood" of venereal disease was a fairly 

common artistic theme among the Decadent writers and artists of the 1890s. 

But the Beast developed this syphilitic fin de siecle aesthetic to an apotheosis 

even the likes of Baudelaire would not have imagined. In his youth, he 

acquired syphilis from a Scottish whore, an experience which caused him to 

recommend the clap as a positive medicinal benefit for great minds like 

himself. Crowley theorized that "it would be salutary for every male to be 

impregnated with the genus of this virus in order to facilitate the culture of 

individual genius". When his young, sheltered American student Israel 

Regardie came to sit at the Master's feet in 1920s Paris, the Beast promptly 

sent him to one of the local filles dejoie for an evening's pleasure. When 

Regardie reported that he had acquired syphilis during the encounter, 

Crowley pronounced that a major turning point in his disciple's initiation had 


occurred. For Crowley, "the scars of syphilis are sacred and worthy of honor 

as such." Depending on one's point of view, Crowley's pro-syphilis stance 

could have been a deliberate provocation of bourgeois morality, stated with 

tongue in cheek, or a mystical comment on the hidden holiness of every 

phenomenon, a perception in keeping with left-hand path transcendence of 

duality. No interpretation of Crowleyan thought should be made without 

taking the Beastly sense of black humor well into account. 

Just as he worshipped the indiscriminate and infectious promiscuity 

of the Whore of Babylon as enacted by his Scarlet Women, he sought to 

match them in their whorishness in his Alys persona. In this sense, Crowley's 

understanding of Babalon is similar to the left-hand path dual manifestation 

of the Feminine Daemonic as the male adept's external sexual partner and his 

inner shakti. In his solemnly consecrated Oath Of The Beast, a promise to his 

Lady Babalon, he vowed to "freely prostitute my body to the lusts of every 

Living Creature that shall desire it," a promiscuous promise that echoes his 

earlier The Vision And The Voice, which exults, "beautiful art thou 
BABALON, and desirable, for thou hast given Thyself to everything that 


It's easy enough to interpret this sacred pledge as nothing more than a 

quasi-religious justification for Crowley's already well-established habit of 

fucking everything that moved. But to leave it at that would be to ignore the 

real power of regularly evoking and invoking so potent a force as the Whore 

of Babylon. The issue of whether such divine forces can be said to 

objectively exist as independent beings outside the mind of man occupied 

Crowley throughout his life; he never reached a conclusive answer. But 

whether this is true or not, Crowley's decades-long exaltation of Babalon 

unquestionably tapped into an ancient psychogone that could be traced back 

as far as the Great Whore goddesses of eldest pre-Christian antiquity, 
Inanna/Ishtar/Astarte, the patronesses of the lost spiritual discipline of sacred 


Crowley's understanding of the shakti he called Babalon was 

surprisingly limited; he barely looked beyond the Bible scare story in 

Revelations that had so transfixed him as a youth. Much of what he taught his 

followers about Babalon was simply wrong, subjective, or rooted in fantasy, 

and these errors persist today in some quarters of the Thelemic community. 

But a magical oath taken in the name of such an entity, even when it is based 

on incomplete and distorted information, will have its effect. If Crowley 

accomplished nothing else, he set the wheels in motion for a revival of the 

forgotten tradition of Inanna-Ishtar-Astarte, the cult of the Scarlet Woman, 

that is one of the most viable approaches for Westerners to the sinister 
current. Who is to say that Crowley's oath to prostitute his body to all who 
desired it - despite the Beast's vulgarity - was not the first step in restoring 

the principles of a true erotic initiation once conveyed through the mystery of 

temple prostitution? 

When Cecil Frederick Russell, a young Thelemite discharged from 

the Navy for use of cocaine, turned up at the Abbey for spiritual training, 

Crowley unleashed his inner sacred whore on him in an attempt to fulfill his 

licentious Oath. Here's Crowley planning the working in his diary: "Now I'll 

shave and make up my face like the lowest kind of whore, and rub on 

perfume and go after Genesthai [Russell's magical name] like a drunken twobit 

prick-pit in old New Orleans." As it turns out, the ailing, strung-out Beast 

was not particularly appealing; the aphrodisiac assistance of the Scarlet 

Woman was needed. "Operation, very lengthy. Alostrael had to masturbate 

Genesthai to effect erection, and her hand introduced his penis into my anus." 

Replying cattily to his long-dead former teacher, Russell remarked in his own 

1970 autobiography Znus Is Znees: "What really happened, my dear Master 

Therion, in this case, your Circean enchantment didn't give me a bone-on". 

Russell, after the inevitable break from Crowley that all but a few 

were compelled to make, went on to found the Choronzon Club, an 

influential but forgotten American sex magic society that was actually far 

more successful in its time than Crowley's O.T.O. The Choronzon Club, 

centered in Chicago, eventually became the G.B.G. or Great Brotherhood of 

God. This group was eventually revived in the late 1950s by the American 

Louis Culling, an alumnus of a small v 40s era Los-Angeles based branch of 

the O.T.O. . Out of this distant Calif ornian outpost of the Beast's scattered 

ministry, known as the Agape Lodge, the Babalon Current would 

unexpectedly remanifest from Crowley's narrow-minded Victorian concept 
into a timeless vision of the Feminine Daemonic truly worthy of the left-hand 




Cults Of The Scarlet Woman 

The Babalon Working And Beyond 

"Of all the strange and terrible powers among which we move unknowingly, 

sex is the most potent... Conceived in the orgasm of life, we burst forth in 

agony and ecstasy from the center of creation. Time and again we return to 

that fountain, lose ourselves in the fires of being, united for a moment with 

the eternal force, and return renewed and refreshed as from a miraculous 

sacrament ... Sex, typified as love, is at the heart of every mystery, at the 

center of every secret. It is this splendid and subtle serpent that twines about 

the cross, and coils in the core of the mystic rose. " 

— John Whiteside Parsons, Freedom Is A Two-Edged Sword, 1950 

John Whiteside Parsons - Antichrist Of The Space Age 

On the dark side of Earth's moon, located at 37 degrees North and 171 

degrees West, a crater splits the lunar surface. Since 1972, lunar maps have 

designated this desolate moon pit as Parsons, in honor of pioneering rocket 

scientist John (Jack) Whiteside Parsons (1914 — 1952), whose innovations in 

rocket fuel and explosives led directly to the first human efforts to explore 

outer space. There could hardly be a more fitting memorial for a magician 

whose work focused with such passion on the lunar feminine principle in all 

of its mystery. Parsons' stormy love affair with the Feminine Daemonic, in 

the form of Babalon, also took him to dangerous regions of inner space, a 

singular initiatory journey that ended with his death in just the kind of 

explosion he had specialized in investigating. 

When life is lived so fiercely, and ends with such violence at a young 

age, all of the ingredients for legend are firmly set in place. In the case of 

Jack Parsons, only 37 when he died, the ever-present tendency to cast the 

maya of romanticism upon past events is intensified. This has led many to 

place their idol Parsons on a pedestal, glossing over the everyday banalities 

of any human existence, only to submit to a larger-than-life cult of 

personality. Parsons' brooding good looks, Yankee rebelliousness, and fiery 

early death have transfigured him into the James Dean of sex magic, one of 

those Byronic "live fast, die young" figures that tantalize with the lost 

promise of unrealized potential. Even his flamboyant home for the last 

decade of his life, a huge, gloomy Victorian mansion inherited from his 

father, sets a stage suitable for a wizard from the pages of fiction. The 

archetype of the otherworldly doomed genius has rarely been so fully 

realized in flesh and blood. 


In our own researches conducted into the Parsons phenomenon, we 

were fortunate enough to meet, speak or correspond with many of those who 

actually knew Parsons as man, magician and scientist. From them, we 

learned of a vulnerable, quietly pensive, socially maladroit, absent-minded 

individual who was apparently as notable for his physical clumsiness and 

peculiar perspiration problem as for his now-vaunted brilliance and 

mystique. Many of Parsons' scientific colleagues and their wives regarded 

their associate's interest in magic as little more than a goofy eccentricity, a 

harmless hobby. More than a few of his associates related to us the 

impression that his little-understood sexual magic was psychologically 

conflicted by a cloyingly close relationship with his mother, and the painful 

absence of his father. Parsons' work with the goddess Babalon must be 

placed in context with what he himself described in his incisive 

autobiographical sketch Analysis By A Master Of The Temple as a 

"dangerous attachment" to his mother. In that same document, Parsons 

perceptively notes that his "invocation of Babalon served to exteriorize the 

Oedipus complex." (Sensation seeking biographers have since twisted this 

aspect of the magician's psychosexual constitution to justify their unfounded 

accusations of actual physical incest between Parsons and his mother, a 

charge for which no supporting evidence exists.) 

His search for a paternal figure, aggravated by his own father's early 

abandonment of him, is made abundantly clear in the blind filial reverence he 

showed to his magical mentors Wilfred Smith and Aleister Crowley, from 

whom he eventually broke to forge his own way. All sex magicians of the 

sinister current, to fully understand their relations with their sex partners and 

with the esoteric forces of masculinity and femininity, should carefully 

analyze the often hidden psychological dynamics of parental influence, 

which so decisively shape one's ideas of male and female. Parsons' exacting 

sexual self-analysis provides a useful prototype for this aspect of the lefthand 

path adept's ongoing process of erotic understanding. 

Many of those we interviewed verified Parsons's own analysis of 

himself as one given to "romanticism, self-deception and reliance on others"; 

these traits manifested themselves disastrously in the appallingly bad 

character judgment he demonstrated repeatedly in his brief life. From some 

second-hand accounts, one would get the impression that Parsons' scientific 

prowess made him into a magical Einstein. But it must also be said that some 

of his scientific peers viewed him as a bright but self-educated pyromaniac 

with no college education, an undisciplined idiot savant who got a reckless 

kick out of danger and blowing things up. The phrase "mad scientist" came 

easily to the lips of those who described their first-hand impressions of 

Parsons to us. He had a capacity for hare-brained schemes that led him to flirt 

with selling American aerospace secrets to foreign powers - this amateur 


espionage, along with his strident liberalism, brought him to the attention of 

the FBI during the paranoid days of the cold war Red scare. Parsons, like 

many magicians, was very much a man on the outside looking in; his 

voyeuristic tendency to live through the lives of others is expressed in his 

habit of collecting odd and colorful characters to examine. If the straight 

arrow aerospace scientists he worked with considered him to be something of 

a flake, the occult bohemians of the Hollywood and Pasadena O.T.O. were 

impressed that he held down a real job with government security clearance. 

Moving between two such disparate worlds, Parsons was an enigma to both 


With one foot firmly placed in the rigors of the scientific method, 

Parsons had in many ways a more realistic and practical mind than the 

average occultist, who is so often lost in sheer subjective fantasy. But a 

passion for pulp science fiction and fantasy novels and the then-new fad 

folklore of UFOs often led him into Utopian flights of fancy. This capricious 

tendency in Parsons was noted by Crowley in a letter to his student Jane 
Wolfe: "Jack's trouble is his weakness, and his romantic side - the poet - is 

at present a hindrance. He gets a kick from some magazine trash, or an 

^occult' novel (if only he knew how they were concocted!) and dashes off in 

wild pursuit." (Crowley knew well of what he spoke, having authored several 

hastily composed occult novels of his own.) And yet Parsons must be 

counted as a genuine visionary in at least one respect; even in the 1930s, he 

earnestly believed that manned flight to the moon was possible. 

Parsons' last years have often been described as a period of 

encroaching madness. His decision to legally change his name to Belarion 

Armiluss Al Dajjal Antichrist in 1948, upon taking the oath of a Magister 

Templi, has been cited as the obvious act of a lunatic. One of the last letters 

he ever wrote, in 1952, to his Thelemic colleague, Karl Germer, certainly 

seems to presage impending psychic collapse: "The operation began 
auspiciously with a chromatic display of psychosomatic symptoms, and 
progressed rapidly to acute psychosis. The operator has altered satisfactorily 
between manic hysteria and depressing melancholy stupor on approximately 
40 cycles, and satisfactory progress has been maintained in social ostracism, 
economic collapses and mental disassociation." His still unexplained death 
shortly thereafter leaves the question of where these symptoms of mania may 

have advanced open to interpretation. 

A full portrait of Parsons is beyond the scope of this study, but these 

preliminary remarks must be made to progress beyond the common 

posthumous legend of Parsons as a kind of sex-magical superhero. Some day 

the definitive biography of the many sides of Parsons will be written, but for 

now, let us extract the most applicable elements of his legacy to the left-hand 

path sex magician. Primarily, we have concentrated on those aspects of 


Parsons' magical practice that may be practically applied by the left-hand 

path adept to the task of summoning a fit sex-magical partner of either gender 

for his or her own Great Work of erotic alchemy. This cannot he understood 

without first depicting something of the curious magical environment in 

which the self-anointed Antichrist of Kali-fornia developed. 

"A Love Cult" 

Beginning left-hand path sex magicians may be inspired by this book to form 

their own groups for the investigation and practice of erotic alchemy. We 

discuss some of the considerations that should inform the development of 

one's own sex-magical society in the last section of this study. But there 

could be no better illustrative preamble to some of the practical problems that 

can potentially arise in sex-magical groups than a brief overview of Jack 

Parsons' involvement with the O.T.O. Agape Lodge. Men and women of the 

sinister current may sincerely seek liberation from the limitations of societal 

and personal sexual politics. But once the organizational factor enters the 

picture, as the chronicle below makes clear, you must be prepared to 

encounter such pashu behaviors as possessiveness, power struggle, and the 

hypocritical pretense that every ordinary expression of lust is of a "spiritual" 


In March of 1941, Wilfred T. Smith, the expatriate Englishman 

authorized by Crowley to lead the Agape Lodge in Los Angeles, reported to 

the Great Beast concerning a new O.T.O. initiate. Of the 26-year old, Smith 

wrote: "I think I have at long last a really excellent man, John Parsons. And 

starting next Tuesday he begins a course of talks with a view to enlarging our 

scope. He has an excellent mind and much better intellect than myself ... 

John Parsons is going to he valuable." This was welcome news to Crowley, 

long dissatisfied with the work of his Californian disciples, who he dismissed 

as mere "fans." Only six years before his death, and in poor health, the Beast 

was anxious that a new generation of Thelemite leadership arise to carry on 

his mission. 

Another member of the Agape Lodge, the silent film actress Jane 

Wolfe, who had studied with the Beast in Cefalu, was equally impressed by 

the newcomer, writing of Parsons in her magical diary that "I see him as the 

real successor of Therion [Crowley's magical name]." 

Based on such enthusiastic reports, Crowley began to consider 

Parsons as the logical leader of the Agape Lodge, increasingly distancing 

himself from Wilfred Smith, whose abilities he had long held in question. 

Just as Parsons had showed an early brilliance in science, conversing 

authoritatively as a teenager via telephone with the great German rocket 

scientist Werner von Braun, so had magic been a life-long fascination for the 

prodigy In 1927, at the age of 13, according to his The Book Of Antichrist, 
Parsons attempted to evoke the Devil to visible appearance, an operation that 


he claimed was met with success, although he rebuked himself for "showing 
cowardice when He appeared." Parsons' apparently sincere acceptance of the 

Devil as a literal being with whom man can communicate differed sharply 
from Crowley's relative disinterest in the Satanic mythos. The modern reader, 

accustomed to the prevalence of superficial, trendy youthful Satanic 

posturing in our time must keep in mind how unspoken a thing Satanism was 

in the America of the 1920s. That the adolescent Parsons would have 

explored such arcane realms without the encouragement of the kind of 

mercantile occult subculture that exists today clarifies just how far from the 

norm he was, even at the beginning of his initiation. 

The literary agent Forrest J Ackerman, who included L. Ron 

Hubbard among the many authors he represented, knew Parsons in the 1940s 

from their mutual membership in the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society. 

Ackerman described Parsons to us as "a Howard Hughes type, tall, slender, 

dark, good-looking." Along with his wife Helen, also an aspirant to the 
O.T.O, the young, attractive couple injected some gladly received new blood 

to the sex magickal circle. 

With his vigorous intelligence, natural inclination for magic, and 

scientific approach to initiation, the rocketeer appeared to be the potential 

leader that Crowley and the failing O.T.O. had long sought. But from the 

first, Parsons showed an independent streak ill-suited to the hierarchical and 

doctrinaire structure of Crowley's O.T.O.. Although he accepted Thelema 

unreservedly as the foundation of his religion, and. admired Crowley as his 

"beloved father," Parsons took a far more creative, forward-looking view 

than his Lodge fellows, who went strictly by the book (of the Law). 

Odd though it may seem considering Crowley's own unrestrained 

sexual appetite, the reportedly charismatic Smith's tendency to seduce almost 

every willing female member of the Lodge particularly rankled the Beast. 

One of the sisters of the Lodge whom Smith took as his mistress was Helen 

Parsons. This affair, true to the Thelemic injunction that "there shall be no 

property in human flesh" was engaged in with John Parsons' knowledge and 

agreement. The younger man viewed Smith as a paternal mentor - even as 

the "Avatar of a God" - and was loath to interfere with his True Will, even if 

his own marriage were to suffer as a consequence. This cultivated 

overcoming of societal conditioned sexual jealousy was part of Parsons' 

effort to liberate himself with the mores of his time and upbringing, and 

remained a central aspect of his approach to sex magic. But his tendency to 

be vulnerable to exploitation in this regard would prove to be a perilous 

theme in his abbreviated life. In any event, Parsons turned his amorous 

attentions to his wife's younger sister, Sara Northrup, known as Betty, who 

also joined the O.T.O. 
Parsons later interpreted this incident as a turning point in his erotic 

initiation, writing of himself in Analysis By A Master from the distance of the 

third person: "Betty served to effect a transference from Helen at a critical 

period. Had this not occurred your repressed homosexual element could have 

caused a serious disorder. Your passion for Betty also gave you the magical 

force you needed at the time, and the act of adultery tinged with incest, 

served as your magical confirmation in the Law of Thelema." 

Crowley, struggling for survival in dire war-time London, was less 

forgiving when he heard of these far away Calif ornications, which he felt 

reduced the ideal of sexual initiation to a banal soap opera. In one of many 

scolding letters to Smith, Crowley accused him of providing the O.T.O with 

"the reputation of being that slimy abomination, a 'love cult.— Since Crowley 

had been accused of much the same thing for the past twenty years, we must 

imagine that this sudden outbreak of puritanism in his old age was merely a 

ploy to depose Smith, whose increasingly authoritarian guidance of the 

Lodge was inspiring sedition among the already feud-riven brothers and 

sisters of Agape. 

Crowley installed Parsons as the acting master of the Lodge, despite 

the Beast's accurate observation that he was "very young and easily swayed 

by passing influences." Complicating this accession to power over the Lodge 

was Parsons' tenacious devotion to his excommunicated predecessor Smith, 

whom Crowley had pronounced persona non grata. Parson's young wife 

Betty apparently despised Smith, which must have exacerbated the already 

existing tensions considerably. 

Parson's early interest in Satanism and the darker expressions of the 

divine had always separated him from the more conventionally benevolent 

magicians in the Lodge. Now he began to develop an ominous reputation, 

enhanced by his fascination with the evocation of demonic entities via 

Voodoo and the more malevolent manifestations of witchcraft, practices 

almost entirely unknown to Americans in the 1940s. Agape Lodge members 

wrote to Crowley in England to complain that their new leader's experiments 

were creating a sinister atmosphere in the communal house where meetings 

were held. Parsons seemed uninterested in undertaking the duties of the 

Lodge, as his focus shifted away increasingly from the performance of 

orthodox Crowleyan rituals in favor of more personal sex-magical 


He even dared to reprimand Crowley himself, complaining that the 

Beast's rather sadistic treatment of the disgraced Wilfred Smith was unfair. 

As protest, Parsons resigned from the O.T.O. in 1943, an event Crowley 

recorded in his diary, with a typically misogynist snipe at Parsons' wife: 

"Letter of resignation from puppy Jack; his snout glued to the rump of an 

alley-cat." Despite his anger at this insubordination, the Beast persuaded 

Parsons to remain in the fold, which tells us something of the admiration he 

must have held for his promising if refractory student, who many still 


considered a likely successor to the Thelemic throne. Although he remained 

the nominal head of the Lodge until as late as 1946, Parsons' growing 

fascination - one might even say obsession - with the seductive feminine 

mystery of Babalon was to lead him to a heresy that would finally cause him 

to characterize the O.T.O. as "an excellent training school for Adepts, but 

hardly an appropriate order for the manifestation of Thelema." As must 

happen with any true magician, Parsons graduated from apprenticeship in a 

dogmatic school to remanife station as his own independent entity. 

And as is the mark of the left-hand path initiate, it was the 

fascination exerted upon him by a woman who led him gloriously astray. Not 

just any woman, but Inanna, the Great Whore of Babylon, her ancient allure 

risen again in a desert far from the sands of Iraq. 

Dangers Of The Babalon Working 

Certainly the best-known aspect of Jack Parsons' meteoric passage through 

life is the calling forth of a feminine elemental he and an associate performed 

between January 4 - March 4, 1946, a sex-magical operation he termed the 

Babalon Working. In its form and methodology, this Working is really 

nothing extraordinary; Parsons and his magical colleague followed the basic 

conventions of Hermetic ritual as they had been practiced since the 

Elizabethan period, albeit with the inclusion of sex magical techniques 

derived from the O.T.O. Its significance to the left-hand path magician lays 

primarily in the fact that few Western magicians have left such an instructive 

record of contact with the Shakti force, an adhesion between man and deity 

thats violent ripples in space and time can still be felt today. 

Sinister current sex magic is not merely a matter of harnessing the 

energy unleashed by physical sex with a partner for initiatory objectives. One 

of the least analyzed manifestations of erotic initiation is the summoning of a 

sex partner of either sex in physical form for a specific magical goal. In 

practical terms, the Babalon Working demonstrates to the left-hand path 

adept one of the more dramatic historical examples of the conjuration of the 

sex-magical mate. In Carl Jung's theory positing a contrasexual being that 

lays undeveloped in every human psyche - the female anima for the male, the 

male animus for the female - these opposite gendered entities are understood 

to be unrealized aspects of the self. For the sinister current initiate, bringing 

forth a suitable magical consort of the opposite sex is realized literally in the 

flesh through beings independent of the adept, not merely on the psychic 
plane. To find such a companion is exceedingly rare. It is only fair to say that 
the majority of magicians will never truly encounter his/her perfect alter ego, 
the one who also finds the outer manifestation of his/her inner anima/animus 
in you. But when this does occur, as Jack Parsons at least sincerely appeared 
to believe had happened for him as the result of his Babalon Working, each 
partner's power as a magician is enhanced tremendously 


Parsons had clearly given a great deal of thought to the concept of 

the magical couple, the bipolar representation of the mystical androgyne. In 

1948, two years after the Babalon Working, he wrote in The Book Of 

Antichrist of a vision he experienced: 

"And one heavily robed and veiled showed me the sign, and told me to look, 

and behold, I saw flash before me four past lives wherein I had failed in my 

object. And I beheld the life of Simon Magus, preaching the Whore Helena 

as the Sophia, and I saw that my failure was in Hubris, the pride of the spirit. 

And I saw my life as Gilles de Retz, wherein I attempted to raise Jehanne 

D'Arc to be Queen of the Witchcraft, and failed through her stupidity, and 

again my pride... And again as Count Cagliostro, failing because I failed to 

comprehend the nature of women in my Seraphina." 

Here we have the common occult phenomenon of the magician who believes 

he or she was once this or that illustrious adept of the past, a conception so 

subjective that it must be of little value to any objective observer. More 

important to us, however, is Parsons' sense of continuity with the Western 

tradition of male magus and female initiatrix, a legacy most recently 

manifested in the modern cult of the Scarlet Woman. The first magical 

couple he mentions, Simon Magus and Helena, are of course directly tied into 

the Babalon current. The sex-magical powers unique to the Tyrean prostitute 

Helene, who may well have been an initiate of Astarte's temple of sacred 

harlotry in Phoenicia, was a major inspiration in Parsons' conception of 

Babalon, always more historically correct than Crowley's despite the younger 

magician's fatal indulgence in romanticism. Don Webb, in his The Seven 

Faces Of Darkness, proposes that Simon Magus was himself carrying on a 

much more ancient teaching of female mysteries, which he sees flowing from 

Simon's teacher Dositheous, a fellow Samaritan Gnostic. Webb describes 

Dositheous as "the author of the great Sethian gospel known as the Three 

Steles OfSeth... [who] likely introduced - or revealed from older sources - 

the myth of the Scarlet Woman." This provides us with yet another 

interesting connection between Babalon and the god Set, a link in the chain 

from the ancient Egyptian myth of Astarte and Set's sexual coupling to the 

effects of the Babalon Working on the modern-day revival of the Temple of 


Parsons was evidently intensely conscious that his seeking of a 

Scarlet Woman connected him to a tradition that stretched back into 

antiquity, an historical bond he believed was a recurring theme in his former 

reincarnations. It is also notable that he was also very much aware of the 

potential dangers inherent in the evocation of the Feminine Daemonic in 

human form that he had undertaken. Simon Magus, at least according to 

myth, had been destroyed by the Christian cult despite the protective magic 

of his deified Whore Helene, the spirit of Gnostic wisdom embodied, in 
human flesh. The second "past life" as a magician Parsons recalled, that of 

Baron Gilles de Rais, also ended in disaster - de Rais' fall from grace took 

him from the pure vision of the warrior feminine principle incarnated by the 

shamanic shakti Joan of Arc to eventual execution as a serial killer who used 

the blood of children for his alchemical experiments. Cagliostro was the most 

notorious occultist of the Age of Enlightenment, an alchemist, hermeticist 

and dabbler in Rosicrucian Masonry, still acclaimed as a great adept by some 

and dismissed as a thoroughgoing charlatan by many others. His partner in 

crime was his beautiful young mistress Serafina, to whom he attributed his 

powers, and can easily he understood as a Scarlet Woman figure. Both came 

to a bad end, Cagliostro finding an ignominious death in prison. 

An important magical lesson is concealed in Parsons' integration of 

these earlier semi-mythical magical role models into his psyche. By adopting 

Simon Magus, de Rais, and Cagliostro as his blueprints - individuals who he 

judged to have failed at the Great Work - it must be wondered to what extent 

he set into motion the mechanism of his own failure and catastrophic death, a 

self-fulfilling prophecy of doom. The magician must exercise extreme 

caution in selecting prototypes from myth and history lest the overlooked 

self-destructive characteristics embodied in such prototypes overshadow 

one's own unfolding of consciousness. Parsons ignored this methodology to 

his peril, just as the magician today who unthinkingly adopts the glamorous 

Parsons legend into his or her own subjective universe is embracing a very 

unstable and hazardous energy. One might also mention in this regard the 

countless sex magicians who proudly proclaim themselves to be 

reincarnations of the Great Beast 666, never considering the built-in pattern 

of self-destruction, poverty and mania imbedded in the invocation of 

Crowley into one's own being. 

In our estimation, Parsons is no hero to emulate, but a cautionary 

example of the archetype of the Pure Fool in search of the Graal of the 

Feminine Daemonic. Wise - even brilliant - in many arcane and specialized 

ways, but lacking all common sense, Parsons conjured an overwhelming 

force that destroyed him in very little time. Abused, robbed and exploited, 

the price he paid for grounding the sinister power of the Babalon current in 

our time was immense, leaving him in the end as little more than a charred 

sacrifice to the Goddess he adored. 

"Thou shalt become living flame before she incarnates..." 

Jack Parsons conjured two of the most important protagonists in his strange 

destiny, his partners in the Babalon Working, through the simple expedient of 

a classified ad. After Parsons' estranged father died in 1942, the young 

scientist was surprised to learn that he had inherited a stately, European-style 

mansion in a well-heeled neighborhood in conservative Pasadena. Jack 
dubbed his new abode "the Parsonage," promptly commencing an experiment 

in free love, drugs, and communal living that presaged the hippy lifestyle 

which would not fully come into being for another twenty-five years. (Not a 

few commentators have speculated that the spirit given birth by the Babalon 

Working took shape in the Sixties phenomena of sexual revolution and 

female emancipation that later expressed itself in such dramatic forms in 

California.) To attract the kind of liberated spirits Parsons and his new 

consort Betty sought as companions, and to generate the requisite income, 

they placed an ad in the local paper, letting it be known that "Only atheists 

and those of a Bohemian disposition" were welcome as tenants. Parsons 

faithfully sent whatever extra earnings were produced from his lodgers off to 

Crowley, whose earlier Abbey of Thelema surely served as a role model for 

the Parsonage. Respectable scientists, engineers, and physicists mingled with 

marginal magicians, artists, and well-known science fiction writers as Robert 

Heinlein, A. E. Van Vogt and Ray Bradbury, long before their work was 

accorded serious literary status. 
Alva Rogers, one of the many struggling writers who found their way 

to the Parsonage, wrote in a 1962 memoir of his eccentric host that 

"Mundane souls were unceremoniously rejected as tenants. There was a 

professional fortune teller and seer who always wore appropriate dresses and 

decorated her apartment with symbols and artifacts of arcane lore. There was 

a lady, well past middle age but still strikingly beautiful, who claimed to have 

been at various times the mistress of half the famous men in France. There 

was a man who had been a renowned organist in the great movie palaces of 

the silent era. They were characters all." 

Parsons' wealthy neighbors did not take kindly to the rambunctious 

parties that now rocked their once quiet neighborhood, and rumors of "black 

magic orgies" eventually brought the police to investigate one particularly 

raucous celebration. When a naked woman was observed jumping over a fire 

in imitation of pagan festivities, Parsons cut short an official inquiry only by 

presenting his credentials as a scientist working on top secret weapons work 

for the U.S. government. Parsons' FBI file makes it clear that the scientist's 

sex-magical pursuits and unconventional living arrangements kept him 

within official radar; Uncle Sam was made nervous by the idea of a war-time 

researcher keeping company with atheists and bohemians, anti-social types 

which sounded suspiciously like Communists. One of the largest rooms in 

the house - in sight of an imposing portrait of Crowley - was reserved as a 

temple for the increasingly irregular Agape Lodge meetings. Parsons' lodgers 

became accustomed to the mediaeval sight of robed Thelemites wending their 

way to the incense-laden ritual chamber with candles in their hands. 

This provocative convocation of potentially explosive forces was 
brought to a head by a new arrival on the scene in the late fall of 1945 - a 34- 
year old pulp fiction writer on leave from his service as an officer in the 
United States Navy. Parsons, who devoured the numerous sci-fi magazines 
for which Lafayette Ron Hubbard (1911 — 1986) wrote, was delighted to 
welcome a known author among the bohemian enclave assembled at the 
Parsonage. Hubbard was described by his fellow Parsonage roommate Alva 
Rogers, as "a persuasive and unscrupulous charmer, not only in a social 
group, but with the ladies. He was so persuasive and charmingly 
unscrupulous that within a matter of a few weeks he brought the entire house 
of Parsons down around poor Jack's ears. He did this by the simple expedient 
of taking over Jack's girl for extended period of time." Just as Wilfred Smith 
had enthralled Parsons' first sex-magickal partner, his wife Helen, away from 
him in the Agape Lodge, the scenario was repeating itself with Hubbard and 
Betty. Arthur Jean Cox, who knew the young Hubbard of this period, recalled 

to us that L. Ron already had a reputation in science fiction circles for 

"cuckolding other men's wives with his sexual magnetism." 

Parsons, at first, chose to see things in a more optimistic light, as this 

1945 letter to Crowley reveals: "About three months ago 1 met Ron ... a 

writer and explorer of whom I had known for some time ... He is a gentleman 

... is honest and intelligent, and we have become great friends. He moved in 

with me about two months ago, and although Maggy [a nickname for Betty] 

and I are still friendly, she has transferred her sexual affections to Ron." 

Parsons praised Hubbard's untrained but innate gift for magic, suggesting that 

as "the most Thelemic person I have ever met" he would be an ideal magical 

partner for the "experiments" he had in mind. Of Betty, Parsons wrote to the 

Beast: "I cared for her rather deeply, but I have no desire to control her 

emotions, and I can, I hope, control my own." Parsons also noted that his 

charismatic guest claimed to be in touch with a Feminine Daemonic being, "a 

beautiful winged woman with red hair, whom he calls the Empress, and who 

has guided him through his life, and saved him many times." This may or 

may not have been Hubbard telling his impressionable host what he wanted 

to hear, but the symbolism of a woman with red hair makes for an interesting 

synchronicity, as events will prove. The possibility that this supernatural 

female was the projected anima of L. Ron Hubbard, whose flaming red hair 

was one of his most distinctive features, must also be considered. 

In January 1946, Parsons decided to "[invoke] a spirit or elemental 

into tangible existence," inspired by Crowley's instructions in Chapter Eight 

ofMagick In Theory And Practice. "1 decided upon the use of the Enochian 

Tablets obtained by Dr. John Dee (1527—1608) and Edward Kelley," 

Parsons wrote, referring to the Renaissance era British magicians whose 

celebrated 1584 operation had included the first mention of the word 

"Babalon." It has frequently been noted that the partnerships of Dee/Kelley 

and Parsons/Hubbard, although separated by centuries, possessed curious 

similarities. The court alchemist Kelley was often described by his 

contemporaries as an unscrupulous charlatan and criminal exploiting the 

brilliant but gullible John Dee, one of the great scientists of his time. Just as 

Parsons had asked Hubbard to serve as his "Scribe" in the planned 

invocation, so had Dee relied on Kelley to fulfill the same role in their 

collaboration. (Parsons's description of Hubbard as his scribe is rather 

contradictory, since it is in fact Hubbard who dictates his visions to Parsons 

throughout the Working.) 

Even the sexual dynamics were comparable. Kelley, who reportedly 

was as captivated by Dee's young wife as Hubbard was with Sara (Betty) 

Northrup, claimed that a spirit named Mandini had instructed him that the 

two mages should use each other's wives "in common" - an invitation to 

spiritually motivated wife-swapping not unlike Parsons' tolerant acceptance 

of Hubbard's seduction of Betty. In 1950, looking back on the personally 


disastrous consequences of the Babalon Working, Parsons himself 

commented on the similarity between Hubbard and Kelley, speculating that 

some discarnate intelligence had entered the minds of both Kelley and 

Hubbard during ritual, with shattering effects on their psyches. Parsons wrote 

that, "The voice, speaking from Kelley, resulted in a sinister dissociation of 

Kelley's personality. The parallel with my own Working with Ron, is 

appalling. After this Kelley robbed Dee, absconded with his wife, and 

developed a criminal confidence career." Clearly, Parsons suspected that his 

use of the Dee/Kelley Enochian Tablets had necromantically brought 

something of these men's essences into the Babalon Working. 

For eleven days, Parsons performed VIII° sex magick as he had 

learned in the O.T.O. - in other words, focused masturbatory ejaculation - 

designed to "obtain the assistance of an elemental mate," his ideal Scarlet 

Woman who would presumably take physical form in his ritually produced 

semen. This magically spawned female sex partner - which may be 

compared to the Eastern left-hand path summoning of the dakini in human 

form - was intended to be the mother of a daughter who would supposedly 

he the living avatar of the Whore of Babalon on earth. This child, horn of 

Parsons and his sexually summoned Scarlet Woman, would, he hoped, be the 

homunculus of the alchemists brought into being through the union of 

physical sexuality. (Parsons told others in his circle that he had in fact created 

a homunculus via alchemical procedures, which he claimed to have kept 

locked in a secret room in his home.) 

The ultimate apocalyptic goal of the Working seems to have been the 

literal birth of the Whore of Babalon, the Bride of the Antichrist - the 

fulfillment of Revelations as advent to a new spiritual compensation for 

mankind. This Aeonic objective bears resemblance to the Eastern Varna 

Marga's positive understanding of the Kali Yuga, the age of darkness 

necessary to open the eye of Shiva. 

Hubbard, never officially inducted into the O.T.O, but learning fast, 

communicated visions purportedly observed on the astral plane while 

Parsons emitted the elixir needed to ground the elemental in terrestrial 

matter, smearing his sperm on talismans as proscribed by Crowley. Often, 

these autoerotic rites, which Parsons gingerly characterizes as "replenishing 

material basis" in his Book Of Babalon, a brief account of the Working, were 

carried out two times daily But no clear sign of the erotic elemental he had 

asked for manifested itself. Despite the intensity and frequency of the sexual 

invocation, the only immediately noticeable results were a few freakish 

windstorms, poltergeist phenomena, unexplained rapping and a "great 

pressure and tension in the house"; Parsons was disappointed, but was soon 

to be elated, as he described: 


"The feeling of tension and unease continued for four days. Then on January 

18 at sunset, whilst the Scribe [Hubbard] and I were on the Mojave Desert, 

the feeling of tension suddenly stopped. I turned to him and said "it is done", 

in absolute certainty that the Operation was accomplished. I returned home, 

and found a young woman answering the requirements waiting for me. She is 

describable as an air of fire type with bronze red hair, fiery and subtle, 

determined and obstinate, sincere and perverse, with extraordinary 

personality, talent and intelligence." 

The striking twenty-four year old artist whom Parsons understood to be the 

result of his invocation was Marjorie Cameron (1922 — 1995), who exactly 

like Hubbard, had come to the Parsonage in search of a room while on leave 

from the U.S. Navy. This brash, Iowa-born All-American gal type, still in her 

Navy uniform, would at first seem like an unlikely Scarlet Woman for the 

dreamy Parsons, whose taste had previously been for sylph-like girlish 

blondes. By all accounts, whatever Cameron may have lacked in magical 

experience was made up for in the mutual erotic magnetism that instantly 

drew the two strangers to each other. Within a few days of arriving, Cameron 

became his magical student, and agreed to participate in the next stage of the 

Babalon Working, which according to Crowley's instructions De Homunculo 

Epistola required that "the man and woman copulate continuously ... in a 

ceremonial manner in a prepared temple." For Parsons, Cameron was the 

Helene to his Simon, the Sophia to his Logos, the invisible thought of Shiva 

made real in the flesh of his Shakti. Some of Parsons' long-time friends, such 

as Jeanne Forman, wife of the scientist's best friend and fellow rocketeer Ed 

Forman, told us that the brazen manner and almost mannish demeanor of 

Cameron (known as Candy) made for a startling contrast with Parsons' own 

soft-spoken and introverted manner. As is frequently the case in magical 

biographies, apocryphal anecdotes created to validate seemingly arbitrary 

details of the magician's profile abound. The subject of Marjorie Cameron's 

nickname of "Candy" is no exception to this rule. Some accounts claim that 

Parsons gave Marjorie Cameron the name Candy as an abbreviation of her 

magical name of Candida. Conversely, Jeanne Forman told us that Cameron 

was already known as Candy when she first arrived at the Parsonage. 

Whichever the case may be, Marjorie Cameron referred to herself simply as 

Cameron, and it is under that name that she has been remembered. 

On February 23, 1946, Parsons jubilantly wrote to Crowley: "I have 

my elemental! She turned up one night after the conclusion of the Operation, 

and has been with me since ... She has red hair and slant green eyes as 

specified ... She is an artist, strong minded and determined, with strong 

masculine characteristics and a fanatical independence." Considering that the 

Babalon Working had been directly influenced by Crowley's own writings on 


the sex-magical creation of elementals and homunculi, and in light of the 

legendary status this operation has gained in recent years, it should be 

mentioned that the Great Beast was not at all pleased by the elaborate 

operations being carried on in his name. The first chilly words of Crowleyan 

admonition that came back from England could not have been warmly 

welcomed by Parsons, prophetic though they later turned out to be: "I am 

particularly interested in what you have written to me about the Elemental, 

because for some little while past I have been endeavoring to intervene 

personally on your behalf. I would however have you recall Levi's aphorism 

'the love of the Magus for such beings is insensate, and may destroy him.'" 

Despite this clear warning from the Master Therion, the smitten 

Parsons married Cameron in October of 1946. In Hubbard's presence, 

Parsons and his Scarlet Woman repeatedly performed IX° O.T.O. sex magick 

designed to impregnate Cameron with the spirit of Babalon. The most 

immediately obvious result of this erotic invocation of the Whore, according 

to Parsons, was his reception of an inspired document called Liber 49, which 

he believed to he not only a fourth chapter of Crowley's Book Of The Law, 

but a direct communication from the Goddess to Her High Priest. Although 

Parsons was cryptic in his description of this event to Crowley, he did 

characterize the hearing of Liber 49 as "the most important - devastating 

experience of my life ... I believe it is the result of the IX° working with the 


This brief but impassioned manifesto, fueled by sex magic, is filled 

with the lascivious imagery one would expect from Inanna-Ishtar, who 

commands her scribe to "Let me behold thee naked and lusting after me, 

calling upon my name ... Let me receive all thy manhood within my Cup, 

climax after climax, joy upon joy ... my laughter is the drunken laughter of a 

harlot in the house of ecstasy..." True to the aspect of Inanna-Ishtar as 

goddess of war, the text resounds with proclamations of military conquest, 

speaking of "a trumpet in judgement halls, a banner before armies ... Set my 

star upon your banners and go forward in joy and victory ... call upon me in 

your loves and battles in my name BABALON, wherein is all power given!" 

Liber 49 also orders her disciples to create a revival of witchcraft, suggesting 

a break with the pseudo-Masonic structure of the O.T.O. . The incarnation of 

Babalon will "wander in the witchwood" in "the covens of old...". This often 

overlooked element of the book Parsons later attempted to realize through the 

creation of his own magical school, which he called the Witchcraft, long 

before the popular rise of Wicca had emerged. 

One of the more startling themes running through Liber 49 and the 

Babalon Working, considering the nature of Parsons' fiery death only a few 

years after he wrote/received this text are the many apparent allusions to 
flame and mortality, seeming premonitions of his personal inferno to come. 


Surprisingly, for an invocation to a goddess of sexual ecstasy, the operation 

is imbued with repeated intimations of fiery death. Babalon states that "I shall 

come as a perilous flame..." 

During a series of rites Hubbard and Parsons conducted in the wake 

of the reception of Liber 49, the roof of the Parsonage guest house caught 

fire. Hubbard, supposedly communicating astral messages, conveys such 

cryptic phrases as "Mortality ... is this accepted, are you willing to proceed?" 

To which Parsons answers, "I am willing." Hubbard then states, "should'st 

thou falter again, we will sure slay thee." During one phase of the rite, 

Hubbard suggested playing a recording of Rachmaninoff's spectral 

composition, Isle Of The Dead, as "background music." Other possible 

prophecies of Babalon's destructive effects uttered by Hubbard during the 

Babalon Working include: "She is flame of life, power of darkness, she 

destroys with a glance, she may take thy soul. She feeds upon the death of 

men ... Beautiful—Horrible." In this last juxtaposition, Hubbard's vision of 

Babalon approaches the desirable yet hideous essence of Kali known to 
adepts of the Varna Marga. He continues in this vein: "Light a single flame 

on Her altar, saying: Flame is Our Lady, flame is Her hair, I am flame ... 

Display thyself to Our Lady; dedicate thy organs to Her, dedicate thy heart to 

Her, dedicate thy mind to Her, dedicate thy soul to Her, for She shall absorb 

thee, and thou shalt become living flame before She incarnates. For it shall 

be through you alone, and none else can help in this endeavor." 

Whether such oracular declarations were spoken by Hubbard in a 

genuine state of heightened consciousness or not, it's these haunting and 

recurrent synchronicities that lend weight to Parsons' contention that the 

Babalon Working did in fact open the line of communication to a transhuman 

force. Parsons himself obviously interpreted this imagery as a divination of 

his own fate, writing in one of his fragmentary commentaries on the Babalon 

Working, "And in that day my work will be accomplished, and I shall be 

blown away upon the Breath of a Father, even as it is prophesied." 

With the introduction of the reportedly highly sexed Cameron into 

the already intense Working in her role of Scarlet Woman, Hubbard's 

instructions to Parsons inevitably took on an increasingly erotic cast. 

"Embrace her, cover her with kisses," Hubbard dictates to Parsons at one 

point, "Think upon the lewd lascivious things thou couldst do. All is good to 

BABALON. All." Parsons is compelled to "consecrate each woman thou hast 

raped ... until the flame of lust is high ... Recall each lascivious moment, each 

lustful day ... The lust is hers, the passion yours, Consider thou the Beast 

raping." Hubbard has often been assigned a secondary role in the Babalon 

Working, but clearly he was the director of the operation, functioning in 

much the same capacity as the chakresvara in the Tantric circle rite. Parsons, 

by contrast, plays a much more passive part, transcribing Hubbard's 


proclamations and dutifully following his partner's ostensibly inspired edicts. 

Parsons continued to report hack to Crowley concerning the final 

stage of the Working, still reverently addressing him as "Beloved Father." 

But the cranky, junk-sick 71 year old Beast was unimpressed, writing to his 

enthused magical son Parsons that "You have me completely puzzled by 

your remarks. I thought I had a most morbid imagination, as good as any 

man's, but it seems I have not. I cannot form the slightest idea of what you 

can possibly mean." 

Another letter from Crowley to his associate Karl Germer was more 

directly damning: "Apparently Parsons and Hubbard or somebody is 

producing a moonchild. I get fairly frantic when I contemplate the idiocy of 

these louts." 

In breaking with the stodgy and static Masonic configuration of 

O.T.O. sex magick as Crowley understood it, Parsons had brought the 

Babalon Current into an unexpected area the Master Therion was not 

prepared to comprehend. It would not be the first or last time in the history of 

the Western magical revival that the student went much further than the 

teacher. Crowley's disapproval of the Babalon Working may also have been 

his misogynistic reaction to Parsons' joyous acceptance of the full potential of 

the feminine principle and. the younger man's unqualified love and 

admiration for women. Parsons was unambiguous in his exaltation of 

Cameron as Scarlet Woman, and his liberatory vision of Babalon as a 

powerful divinity in her own right. This positive understanding of the 

Feminine Daemonic was worlds apart from Crowley's concept of "Babalon 

under the power of the magician, that ... hath submitted herself unto the 

work." For Crowley, women (Scarlet or otherwise) were dispensable, 

interchangeable love dolls, merely the "shrine of the God." 

But for Parsons, like all authentic adepts of the left-hand path, 

women were potentially sacraments of the sinister force, objects of 

veneration and mysterious awe. In one of his many attempts to come to grips 

with the vision vouchsafed to him through the Babalon Working, an essay 

entitled The Star Of Babalon, Parsons wrote that "the adept may have a mate 

upon the plane of earth, or among the elementals; and if he will, let him 

conceive of this mate as partaking of the nature of his deity, for herein is a 

subtle and beautiful practice of love." This of course is one of the core 
practices of the left-hand path, the deification of the female sex partner. In 

this same piece, Parsons affirms his belief that "BABALON is now incarnate 

on the earth in the form of a mortal woman," but goes further to state that "it 

is now abundantly evident that the spirit of BABALON stirs in the women of 

the world. The demand for increased freedom, the rejection both of the 

tyrannical husband and the child lover, the increase of feminine polygamy 

and lesbianism, all indicate the development of a new type of woman, who 


will have a whole man or none." 

Both in his visionary recognition of the divinity in woman and in his 

prophetic intuition in the 1940s that a "new type of woman" was on the 

horizon, Jack Parsons came into his own as the pioneer of a left-hand path 

tradition unique to the West. 

The Last Work 

Like Crowley, the O.T.O. Agape Lodge that Parsons still vaguely supervised 

was also disinclined to accept the implications of the Babalon Working. 

Parsons' claim that he had theurgically received a fourth chapter of the 

Beast's sacred Book Of The Law smacked dangerously of Thelemic heresy, 

and Parsons soon separated from the Crowleyan version of the Ordo Templi 

Orientis, although he continued sporadic correspondence with Crowley. 
From henceforth, the few remaining years of Parsons' life traced a missile in 

downward trajectory. 

In the midst of their brief but influential magical collaboration, 

Parsons and Hubbard also entered into a business partnership known as 

Allied Enterprises, which was in fact to quickly mark the end of their 

turbulent affiance. The full details of this sordid episode have been covered 

in many other sources, and shed no light on the relevance of the Babalon 

Working to left-hand path sex magic in the West. Suffice it to say that 

Hubbard and Parsons' former flame Betty absconded with the naive scientist's 

savings, which led not only to a full-blown magical war, but a messy lawsuit, 

continuing the litigious tradition that had marked O.T.O. activity since the 

days of Theodor Reuss. 

Crowley expressed a rare flicker of compassion for his wayward 

adherent in a letter concerning this incident to the sex magician Louis 

Cuffing: "About J.W.P. - all that I can say is that I am very sorry - I feel sure 

that he had fine ideas, but he was led astray firstly by Smith, then he was 

robbed of his last penny by a confidence man named Hubbard." But the 

Beast's final words on Parsons, written to Cuffing a year before his own 

death, are more stinging and final: "I have no further interest in Jack and his 

adventures; he is just a weak-minded fool, and must go to the devil in his 

own way. Requiescat in pace. " 

Cameron, the ideal Scarlet Woman, eventually separated from 

Parsons, like Helen and Betty before her, causing him to observe, in his 

Analysis By A Master, that "Candy appeared in answer to your call, in order 

to wean you from wet nursing. She has demonstrated, the nature of woman to 

you in such unequivocal terms that you should have no further room for 
illusion on the subject." However, the couple resumed their stormy union and 

their practice of sex magic during the last two years of Parsons' life. As the 
result of a government investigation into suspicions of "subversion," Parsons' 

security clearance was taken away in 1948, which left him in desperate straits 

professionally. This drastic turn in fortune was a direct result of Parsons' 

experiments in sex magic; government documents cite "his membership in a 

religious cult ... believed to advocate sexual perversion" as a potential 

security risk. 

On Halloween of 1948, - or so Parsons asserts in his 1949 The Book 

Of Antichrist - he was again contacted by the goddess Babalon. He seemed 

to have an unshakable intuition that he was not long for this world, writing 

that "I began the last work", stating later in this text that some unidentified 

beings informed him that "it is not certain that you will survive, but if you 

survive you will attain your true will, and manifest the Antichrist." During 

this initiatory ordeal - which Parsons called the Black Pilgrimage - he took 

the oath of a Master of the Temple from his old Lodge master Wilfred Smith. 

Assuming his self-appointed office of Antichrist, he vowed, among other 

things, to end the lying hypocrisy of Christianity" with its repressive sexual 

"prudery and shame ... guilt and sin." Never before or since has there been 

such a total spiritual repudiation of the anti-sexual tyranny of the Church, 

based on a theurgic identification with the apocalyptic contrasexual figures 

of Antichrist and the Great Whore, whose physical manifestation he 

predicted would become evident in 1955. 

The reader today, accustomed to the crude anti- Christian fulminations of 

modern Satanism, may suppose that Parsons' ideas can be considered a 

forerunner to the ignorant church-burning "devil worship" of our era. This is 

not true; his magical war is clearly targeted primarily at the sexual shame 

fostered by what he called "formal Christianity" In Parsons' brief The Gnostic 

Doctrine, the magician reveals his immersion in esoteric left-hand path 

Gnostic Christianity, acknowledging that "the Holy Ghost is the feminine 

counterpart of Christ - the Sophia." Furthermore, the self-proclaimed 

Antichrist declares that "In the teachings of [the original] Christ there are no 

prohibitions of the enjoyment of life and of the world ... and sexual love." 

Here again, Parsons stands firmly in the Gnostic tradition of Simon Magus 

and his whore of wisdom. Only a few years after the discovery of the sexual 

mysticism of the Nag Hammadi library, Parsons observed in his fragmentary 

notes for a magical curriculum that "Books of the old and new testament that 

contained the sexual doctrines and revolutionary ethics of all true religion 

were thrown out bodily, and in some cases totally obliterated." 

This curriculum, which was never completed or published in his 

lifetime, Parsons intended as the course of instruction for his own proposed 

sex-magical school, known only as the Witchcraft. In notes written for the 

Witchcraft, Parsons explicitly identifies himself and his students as "Helpers 

on the Left Hand Side," an explicit reference to his own increasing 

understanding that his application of the Babalon current was a manifestation 

of the left-hand path - in contradiction to Crowley's identification of 


Thelema with the right-hand path. This is made clear in his explanation of 

"the universe as an interplay between the yin and the yang, or the Lingam and 

the Yoni." The congruence of Parsons' developing post-O.T.O. philosophy 

with the universal sinister current is made evident by his passionate 

description of Babalon in these papers, a Western Tantra alive with his vision 

of the Feminine Daemonic: 

"For is not BABALON the whole of Nature - and is not the cup she beareth 

That in which all things are conceived? ... It was she who sat at the temple 

gate by the waters of Babylon and gave herself to a stranger. Not to one man 

did she give herself in that rite, but to all men, and therefore to God ... Look 

upon her now in her nakedness, this glorious whore called woman. Behold 

her chanting a war cry, riding a steed of the Sagas - Semiramis, Vicingetorix 

- Brunhild. Is she not admirable? behold her in the chambers of the night, her 

cheeks flushed, her eyes large, her mouth moist with honey and sweet with 


fire, giving the ecstasy and anguish of her body utterly in love. Is she not 

magnificent! ... Call to her - fear her not - for is she not woman - tendermysterious- 

alluring? She is the essence of woman - raised to her own power, 

set loose in herself." 

But Parsons' left-hand path teaching was never to come into its full maturity, 

leaving others to carry on the work of Babalon. In June of 1952, while 

Cameron and he were hastily packing for a suddenly conceived move to 

Mexico, Parsons was rapidly clearing out his makeshift laboratory, in 

preparation for their departure. He accidentally dropped a small tin container 
of the extremely volatile chemical fulminate of mercury, which unleashed a 
huge explosion. Parsons, acutely conscious of mythical correspondences as 
he was, would have known that Mercury is the messenger of the gods, who 
as Hermes is both god of science and escort of the dead to Hades. Critically 
maimed by the blast, Parsons held on to life for an hour, but died shortly after 
being rushed to a nearby hospital. As Parsons (whose imagery was invariably 

erotic whether he was describing his phallic rocketry experiments or the 
mysteries of initiation) wrote two years before his explosive passage, "at the 

last, our life closes in the orgasm of death." 

The headline announcing Parsons's demise in the Los Angeles Mirror 

Times newspaper established the tone of later accounts for decades to come: 


The Spawn Of Babalon 

What objective result did the Babalon Working, surely the most famous sex 

magical Working of the twentieth century, have? Jack Parsons himself firmly 

believed that it would lead to the physical incarnation of a living female who 

would embody the spirit of Babalon. Other than that, he seemed unwilling to 

speculate, writing cautiously that "this operation is accomplished and closed 

- you should have nothing more to do with it - nor even think of it, until Her 

manifestation is revealed, and proved beyond the shadow of a doubt. Even 

then, you must be circumspect..." 

Other commentators have been less guarded, speculating that the 

Great Whore Babalon did not manifest in human form but as a metaphysical 

spirit, a liberating current of creative chaos observable in the world at large. 

In Satan Wants You, a breezy and not always accurate study of diabolic 

movements, author Art Lyons surmises of the Babalon Working: "It was 

thirteen years later, the period of human maturation, that twins were born in 

San Francisco - the counterculture and the Church of Satan." Others, taking a 

slightly more materialistic view, have inferred that the daemonic entity 

brought into being actually entered into human form and experienced the 

normal term of gestation. In his commentary to The Book Of Coming Forth 


By Night, Michael A. Aquino, founder of the Temple of Set, makes note of 

the synchronicity that he was born in 1946, "precisely nine months after a 

Working by Crowley's California disciples to create a homunculus per a 

secret instruction of Crowley's to the IX° of his Ordo Templi Orientis." And 

Typhonian Thelemite author Kenneth Grant has speculated that the Babalon 

Working was one of the terrestrial events that incited the post-World War II 

UFO phenomenon. 

As previously noted, the sex-magical forces brought to hear by 

Parsons, Hubbard and Cameron during their now infamous rite of erotic 

theurgy have also been held accountable for such diverse post- World War H 

phenomena as the woman's liberation movement, the 1960s sexual 

revolution, the advent of California as Earth's apparent occult capital, and 

much else besides. To attribute such complex social detonations to one 

magical operation seems a simplification at best, but these notions illustrate 

how an obscure sex-magical act can inflame the imagination, and be elevated 

to the stature of myth. They also demonstrate the important sex-magical 
principle of non-natural creation, the practical application of which we will 

examine in a later chapter. 

The lion's share of interest in the Babalon Working phenomenon has 

tended to focus on Parsons, but less attention has been paid to the legacy of 

Cameron, the shakti power of the operation, whose embodiment of the 

Feminine Daemonic was essential to the rite's enigmatic attainment. Because 

she never conveyed her own magical ideas in the linear written form that has 

been so important to the Western occult tradition, her contribution as a force 

in the modern sinister current has sometimes been undervalued. Cameron's 

magic was communicated not through books of instruction but through her 

evocative art, and her physical presence as an avatar of Babalon. 

In shock after her husband's death, she moved to Mexico alone, and 

became involved in the artist's colony at San Miguel d'Allende. Returning to 

Los Angeles, she chose to live a life of cultivated obscurity, only 

sporadically interrupted by incursions into public awareness. She is probably 

best remembered for her iconic appearance in the Thelemite Kenneth Anger's 

1954 film Inauguration Of The Pleasure Dome, in which she powerfully 

takes on the appropriate roles of Babalon and Kali. Anger's casting of 

Cameron in his film, which is really an audiovisual ritual in itself, has left us 

with an unforgettable document of the severe magical authority she 
commanded. Cameron and her paintings is the subject of Curtis Harrington's 

short film The Wormwood Star, named after one of Jack Parsons' 

unpublished writings. (For a more complete account of Cameron's films, see 

Creation Books' The Satanic Screen, by Nikolas Schreck.) 

Cameron gave a few public lectures on magic during her life, but by 

some reports, these were arcane to the point of incoherence. She remained 

devoted to what Parsons described as the "spirit of BABALON stir [ring] in 


the women of the world", and maintained a correspondence with Joseph 

Campbell, the acclaimed mythologist. Since her death in 1995, her magically 

themed art has been the subject of several exhibitions, and seems likely to he 

her real legacy Although she described herself as carrying on the work she 

and Parsons had begun in the 1940s, and facilitated the publication of some 

of her husband's writings in 1989, Cameron never permitted a comprehensive 

interview, which allowed her to retain a Sphinx-like mystery. 

"Get Thee Behind Me, Thetan!" - L. Ron Hubbard After Babalon 

Only a few years after serving as Scribe in the sexual evocation of the Whore 

of Babylon, Hubbard had gone on to gain fame as the author of Dianetics, 

and as the founder of the Church of Scientology. 

In 1969, when Hubbard was headquartered in England, the British 

newspaper The Sunday Times first made Hubbard's role in the Babalon 

Working known to the general public. In response, it should be pointed out 

that representatives of Hubbard's Church of Scientology were quoted as 

saying that Hubbard had been assigned by Naval Intelligence to infiltrate 

Parsons' circle only to "break up a black magic ring." Hubbard, or so his 

Church officials protested, had "rescued a girl they were using. The black 

magic group was dispersed and destroyed and has never recovered." As for 

Betty Northrup, the "girl" Hubbard had "rescued" from Parsons, she married 

the founder of Scientology in 1946. Betty was one of the first to be exposed 

to her husband's newly developed "science of mind," Dianetics, which takes 

its name from the Greek word for logical reasoning, Dianoia. However, 

Betty, the last link to Hubbard's friendship with Parsons, divorced him in 

1951, in a scandal that led to unwelcome newspaper headlines for the 

budding religion. 

"Ron was fascinated with the magick," Betty confirmed to 

interviewer Bent Corydon many years later, in a 1980s conversation recalling 

her tumultuous life as the companion of Parsons and wife of Hubbard. 

Indeed, the resemblance between many key points of Scientology and the 

magical system devised earlier by Aleister Crowley are fairly obvious. 

Although Scientology certainly does not present itself in such a light, these 

resemblance between Thelemic and Scientological methods make it clear that 

Hubbard brought a great deal of what he learned from his sex-magical 

association with Jack Parsons into the development of his own religion. In 

this respect, Scientology can be understood as a late development in the 

magical revival that produced Theosophy, the Hermetic Order of the Golden 

Dawn, and Thelema. 
In the first issue of The Journal Of Scientology, Hubbard wrote: 

"Thought is the subject matter of Scientology. It is considered a kind of 
'energy' which is not part of the physical universe. It controls energy, but it 

has no wavelength. It uses matter, but it has no mass..." Although Hubbard's 
aesthetic and language couch his ideas in a more avowedly scientific mantle 
than that used in traditional magical circles, it takes no great stretch of the 
imagination to see that he is describing the basic principles of magic. One of 
the objectives Scientologists seek to achieve through their mental mastery of 

this energy separate from the physical universe is to follow a course of 

graded initiation that supposedly leads to becoming an Operating Thetan, the 

highest grade of Scientology, derived from the Greek letter Theta. This is a 

spiritual being who can communicate, see and act free of the restrictions of 

the physical body - much like the bodhisattvas, unknown superiors and 

Secret Chiefs of Eastern and Western magical tradition. Some early 

adherents of Hubbard considered him to be the Western spiritual teacher 

presaged by Madame Blavatsky in her work, and he himself made several 

broad hints that he was actually the foretold red-haired reincarnation of the 

Buddha known as Meitreya, which indicates the presence of left-hand path 

self-deification in the Hubbardite cosmology Hubbard's emphasis on the 

importance of past-life recall in his training is firmly in line with the 

importance both Crowley and Parsons placed on the cultivation of such 

memories as a means of discovering one's True Will. 

In the very early days of Scientology, Hubbard at least 

acknowledged familiarity with Crowleyan magick, referring in one of his 

Philadelphia Doctorate Courses in 1952, to "a fascinating work ... a trifle 

wild in spots..." that he attributes to "the late Aleister Crowley - my very 

good friend." In 1957, in The Professional Auditor's Bulletin, Hubbard wrote 

that "I have been very fortunate in my life to know quite a few real geniuses 

... One chap by the way, who gave us solid fuel rockets ... and all the rest of 

this rocketry panorama ... The late Jack Parsons..." Even such oblique 

references to Hubbard's sex-magical past as these were soon abandoned as he 

sought more respectable status. Interestingly, between 1949 — 1950, even as 

sophisticated a mystically inclined intellectual as Crowley's old friend 

Aldous Huxley was provided with personal Dianetics training from Hubbard, 

which attests to the seriousness with which his methods were at first 

received. The many interesting points of comparison between Hubbard's 

Scientology and Crowley's Magick are deserving of further study, for in 

many ways Scientology can be considered the most successful organizational 

offshoot of the Great Beast's work, having achieved a world standing and 

impact the various O.T.Os and other Crowleyan derivatives have not been 

able to command. But in regard to left-hand path sex magic and the cult of 

the Scarlet Woman, Scientology does not teach any form of erotic initiation 

as part of its official curriculum. 

However, there have been some indications that Hubbard himself 

continued to privately pursue the Babalon current he had evoked so 


powerfully during his ill-fated collaboration with Parsons and Cameron. It 

must be said that since Hubbard left behind no known account of continuing 

work with sex magic, that these elusive traces, suggestive though they are, 

cannot be conclusively proven. The most compelling evidence for Hubbard's 

application of a form of left-hand path sex magic after his parting with 

Parsons was revealed by his own son, L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. (also known as 

Ronald DeWolf. Hubbard, Jr., whose stepmother for five years was Sara 

Northrup, was privy to his father's private side during the early days of 

Scientology in the 1950s, and was himself a Scientologist until he left his 

father's Church in 1959. According to Hubbard Jr., his father confided in him 

the belief that he was the successor to the Beast prophesied in a coded 

passage in Crowley's The Book Of The Law. In Hubbard Jr's 1985 brief 

memoir Philadelphia, which is quoted in L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah Or 

Madman? - a 1987 biography he wrote with ex-Scientologist Bent Corydon 

- he alleged that his father remained embroiled in the Scarlet Woman concept 

as of November, 1952, six years after the Babalon Working: 

"In preparation for the next day's lecture, he'd pace the floor, exhilarated by 

this or that passage from Aleister Crowley's writings. 

Just a month before, he had been in London, where he had finally 

been able to quench his thirst; to fill his cup with the true, raw, naked power 

of the magick. The lust of centuries at his very fingertips 

To stroke and taste the environs of the Great Beast, to fondle 

Crowley's books, papers, and memorabilia had filled him with pure ecstasy! 

In London he had acquired, at last, the final keys; enabling him to 

take his place upon the 'Throne of the Beast' to which He firmly believed 

himself to be the rightful heir ... 'I've made the Magick really work,' he says. 

'No more foolish ritual. I've stripped the Magick to basics - access without 


'Sex by will' he says. 'Love by will - no caring and no sharing - no 

feelings. None.' he says. "Love reversed.' he says, 'love isn't sex. Love is no 

good; puts you at effect. Sex is the route to power.' he says. 'Scarlet women! 

They are the secret to the doorway. Use and consume. Feast. Drink the power 

through them. Waste and discard them.'. 

'Scarlet?' I ask. 

'Yes Scarlet: the blood of their bodies; the blood of their souls,' he 


If this account is accurate, it would seem that Hubbard's 

understanding of sexual magic was entirely of a one-sided vampiric nature, 

much more like Crowley's misogynist concept than the Shakti-centered 

liberatory practice of his erstwhile fellow magician Parsons. The method 

Hubbard Jr., ascribed to his father is also in keeping with the ancient Chinese 


Taoist tradition, in which the male partner is enjoined to sexually consume 

his female partner's potent yin force, while losing nothing of his own yang, a 

devouring of erotic energy which theoretically leaves her permanently 


A further intriguing intimation that Hubbard may have observed 

similar rites designed to "use and consume ... the power" of Scarlet Women 

well into the 1970s is provided in another passage in Bent Corydon and 

Hubbard Jr's biography of the Scientology founder. They claim that this 

description of a possible Hubbard sex-magical ritual was excerpted from a 

sworn affidavit made by a former Scientology member whom they identify 

only under the alias Heidi Forrester. This incident is said to have occurred in 

late 1975, when "Heidi Forrester" was supposedly ushered into the wellappointed 

private suite of a "heavy-set older man" with "reddish grey hair, 

slightly long in the back." The affidavit continues: 

"He didn't say a word and slowly got up, motioned me to follow him into the 

next room. I didn't know if it was Hubbard, and wondered if I was to have 

either an auditing session or an interview I followed him. 

I found myself in a lavish bedroom. This still didn't worry me as 

sometimes interviews and sessions were held in bedrooms ... Without a word 

he suddenly began to undress me. I was repelled by him. 

I did not want to sleep with him. Yet, I felt really chilled and cold to 

the bone at that moment. 

I acutely sensed real fear and danger in the room. In an instant I 

realized the calculated power coming from this person. If I resisted I knew 

that my punishment would be extreme. His eyes were so blank, no emotion, 

no interaction, nothing was there. 

I made the decision to not resist no matter what happened ... He was 

so strange that I realized that if I provoked him he could he extremely 


I let him undress me without resisting. 

I was totally unprepared for what happened next. 

He lay on top of me. 

As far as I can tell he had no erection. However, using his hand in 

some way he managed to get his penis inside me. 

Then for the next hour he did absolutely nothing at all. I mean 

nothing! ... I felt as if in some perverse way he was telling me that he hated 

me as a female. I then began to feel that my mind was being ripped away 

from me by force ... 1 really felt he "coveted" an aspect of my personality and 

he wanted it ... This was weird, total control on a level I could not fathom at 

that time ... After half an hour I really thought I was going crazy. I couldn't 

move my body from underneath him, and I could feel he still had no erection. 

He wouldn't look at me, but instead kept his head averted to the side 


and just gazed into space. 

I had to discipline myself to keep from screaming because I felt I 

was having a nervous breakdown ... After an hour he got up and walked out 

... I wasn't afraid of becoming pregnant. I was so afraid of whatever had been 

going on in this man's head." 

Considering the lack of verifiable proof for this allegation, and the frequency 

with which wealthy, notable men are falsely accused of sexual harassment, 

we can only chalk this up to one of the many mysteries the Babalon current 

has left in its wake. However, the technical details of prolonged but immobile 

sexual penetration, the sensation of psychic melding with the sex partner, and 

the claim that this all took place in a seemingly deliberate silence allowing 

for extreme mental concentration, all unmistakably recall certain Eastern 

methods of left-hand path union. These techniques, like all magical methods, 

can and have been applied for any number of objectives, unrelated to 

considerations of morality, ranging from the ecstatic self-deification of both 

partners we have explained earlier to the so-called "malevolent rite" of 

vasikaranam which uses sexual energy as a control device, as apparently 

described above. 

The odd experience Heidi Forrester alleged to have occurred was 

eventually revealed to echo the Babalon Working's central purpose, which 

was Parsons' attempted sex-magical impregnation of Marjorie Cameron with 

the spirit of Babalon. Later in the affidavit cited by Hubbard Jr. and. 

Cory don, Forrester claims to have been told by a fellow Scientologist that 

"Ron works in eight-year cycles ... You were born in the eighth month of the 

year. Orders had come down lines that you are to conceive a child." After 

being informed of this, or so the document testifies, this male Scientologist 

putatively subjected Heidi to the same extended psychosexual rape she had 

undergone earlier at the hands of the nameless "heavy-set older man." In 

tears after this joyless copulation, she claimed that she asked him for an 

explanation and was told: 
"Heidi, you haven't seen the OT [Operating Thetan] materials ... yet, but you 
know what you are. You are an invisible spirit operating your body. You and 

I actually live in a totally different universe, far away from this one. This 

Earth, this galaxy, our bodies are just pictures we are mocking up to play and 

have a game. Sex for a thetan is nothing. It's the postulates and control of 

mind and body that is the prize. 

If I postulate you will have a baby from the viewpoint of my home 

universe, then you will. You are under my command coming from far away. I 

can make your body do what I want." 


The use of the word "postulate" as a willed mental conception that must 

manifest, a key element in Hubbard's theories, mirrors Crowley's own 

magical axiom that "Every successful act has conformed to the postulate," a 

concept that can in turn be traced to PR. Randolph's 19th century notions of 

volancia and decretism. As for the sex-magical implications of the initiated 

conception of a child which an Operating Thetan is held to be capable of in 

the above chronicle, the reverberation of Crowley's theories of the Moonchild 

and the 1916 attempt of Hubbard and Parsons to realize that theory in the 

flesh are evident. In a Penthouse interview in June 1983, Ron Hubbard, Jr. 

claimed explicitly that his father "was very interested in ... the creation of 

what some people call a Moon Child... He thought of himself as the Beast 

666 incarnate ... the Antichrist." Of course, it goes without saying that the 

vast majority of Hubbard's followers are for the most part entirely unaware of 

the sex-magical history of the man they refer to reverently as "Source", and 

that the Church of Scientology has vigorously denied his son's claims. 

The Process - Robert and Mary Anne DeGrimston And The Three 

Paths Of Sex 

One of the intriguing traces of the Babalon Working that has not previously 

been situated in its proper context is that elusive phenomenon which during 

the thirteen years of its tempestuous existence was called Compulsion 

Therapy, The Process, and finally, the Process Church of the Final 

Judgement. If there was a transmission of the Babalon current from Parsons 

to Hubbard to the Process, it came about in 1962, when Robert Moor, a 

charismatic young architectural student born in colonial Shanghai, met - and 

was thoroughly captivated by - one Mary Anne MacLean, an attractive fellow 

student taking a London Scientology course with him. The couple applied 

what they had learned of Hubbard's techniques to the creation of their own 

school of psychoanalysis, which they dubbed Compulsion Therapy The group 

rapidly attracted a following, which took on semi-religious overtones. 

Hubbard had taken the magical techniques he had learned from Parsons and 

repackaged them as a nominally scientific self-help philosophy. Moor and 

MacLean now reversed the procedure, repackaging methods they had 

squirreled away from Scientology in a more magical Satanic/Luciferian guise. 

True to the spirit of Babalon, Mary Anne had been a high-priced call 

girl whose clients included the rich and the prominent. If Moor provided the 

written doctrines of the team's budding vision, MacLean was evidently the 

tutelary Scarlet Woman energizing the partnership with chaotic Shakti 

dynamism. One of the key terms and practices the pair appropriated from 

Hubbard's lexicon was "Processing," which is a series of Socratic questions 

asked by Scientology auditors to their subjects in order to assist them to 

discover themselves. After marrying, the couple were known as the 


DeGrimstons, and they renamed their group the Process. Not surprisingly, 

considering Mary Anne's former occupation and the obligatory freeing of 

erotic inhibitions that characterized the "Swinging London" environment 

from which the Process emerged, sex (if not sex magic per se) became a 

major theme for the sect. 

According to Process legend, a revelation was visited upon Mary 

Anne DeGrimston during a 1966 group pilgrimage to an isolated, region in 

the Mexican state of Yucatan, and she suggested that the unorthodox 

psychology group should mutate into a full-blown religion. The DeGrimstons 

and their cadre of Processeans emerged from this 1966 experiment in 

communal living extolling the Process theology, based on a trinity of Satan, 

Lucifer and Jehovah, the "Three Great Gods of the Universe." The trio of 

deities would be united by "Christ the Emissary" whose return would bring 

the enemies Satan and Christ together "to execute the [final] judgement." In 

essence, the Process taught that enlightenment could be reached only by 

following one of the three paths embodied by these spiritual principles, the 

"three basic human patterns of reality." The world was on the brink of a 

violent apocalypse, the DeGrimstons concluded, and Processeans were 

compelled to choose one of these three divine principles as a guiding light. 

This choice, as explained by Robert DeGrimston in his 1968 essay 

"Sex - Humanity Split Four Ways", from the handsomely produced Process 

magazine, was seen as inextricably linked with each individual's experience 

of sexuality "Where do you belong?" asked DeGrimston, "Are you Jehovah's 

man, taking the stringent road of purity and rejoicing in the harsh strength of 

self-denial? Do you follow Lucifer, pursuing the ideal of perfect human love 

in a blissful atmosphere of sweet self-indulgence? Is Satan your master, 

leading you into dark paths of lust and licentiousness and all the intricate 

pleasures of the flesh? Or do you take the road to nowhere, half-in half-out, 

half-up half-down, your instincts and ideals buried in a deep morass of 

hypocritical compromise and respectable mediocrity." Ominously, 

DeGrimston added: "Three paths and a quagmire. And time is running out." 

In the same issue of Process magazine, three Processean Advocates 

make their pitches for their chosen God and His sexual path. Christopher 

Fripp, a Jehovan, declares: "Sex is death. It is the incumbent of the Devil ... 

sick satiation and the gluttony of a spirit insensible to light ... the perverter of 

man." The Luciferian Isabel Rennie lovingly pictures the manifestation of 

her God in "the joining together of two beings, male and female, man and 

woman ... cast aside the barriers of fear and guilt and shame ... jealousy and 

petty rivalry ... become one soul, exhilarated in its transcendence of all 

human wrong ... one body, ecstatic in its exploration of strange and 

wonderful delights ... stand proud beside your counterpart whom He shall 

give you ... a welded unit of combined nobility. And Lucifer, the Light- 


Bearer, shall lead you to your paradise." Satan's Advocate, Mendez Castle, 

includes among a long list of breathlessly described Satanic sex scenarios, a 

variety of couplings "in a dingy brothel", with "an older woman, grotesquely 

misshapen ... or a cripple, or perhaps a half-wit..." whores "[performing] 

delicious acts of sensual depravity" including the "delicious pain" of 

flagellation, "a touch of necrophilia" with prostitutes painted to appear dead, 

and finally the emergence of Satan, "black and lowering" over a "naked girl, 

fair haired and in the very prime of youth ... like a human sacrifice upon the 

altar, snow white against the black velvet of the altar cloth." 

The fourth sexual path, the "quagmire" upon which the vast majority 

of mankind trudged along miserably, was the way of the "Grey Forces," 

DeGrimston's disparaging term for the middling masses against which the 

Process positioned themselves. The Advocates of Jehovah, Satan and Lucifer 

all had their rightful place in the Process scheme, but the faceless and lukewarm 

Grey Forces were anathema, as DeGrimston spelled out: 

"There is a fourth attitude to sex, which leads nowhere and is not a path to a 

goal but an endless circuit of repression and frustration. It is the attitude of 

the person who has sex, but always in moderation: for whom it is more 

important to be respectable than to test himself in the fires of intensity; who 

might like to experiment a little more, and secretly envies the experiences of 

those more courageous than himself, but remains within the bounds of the 

reasonable and the rational, clinging always to safety, and avoiding the 

possibility of the social condemnation that is the experience of all who 

follow to extremity urges they feel within them. In this attitude there is no 

courage, no idealism, no purity and no true experience of self: only a tepid 

and insipid limbo where the watchwords are moderation and compromise, 

and the end product is spiritual sterility and hidden self contempt." 

DeGrimston's exhortation to his adherents to test themselves in "the fires of 

intensity" led Processeans to experiment with all imaginable excesses as a 

medium of self-transformation. They formed alliances with groups at the 

furthest edges of left-wing and right-wing political extremism, the Hell's 

Angels and other notoriously violent biker clubs; everything and anything, so 

long as it evaded and baffled the safe, linear thinking of the Grey Forces. At 

a time when pacifist protest against the Vietnam conflict was at its height, 

DeGrimston contrarily praised the Satanic virtues of War. Far from courting 

the elusive respectability and social acceptance desperately desired (and 

almost never won) by most new religions, the Process often went out of its 

way to invite deliberate disrepute. Again, we observe the left-hand path 

method of maintaining a calculated pariah outcast status, much like 

Gurdjieffs knavish striving to remain malamal (blame-worthy). To this end, 


the Process very consciously played up its image as a "dangerous cult." To a 

London magazine which had published a negative report on the group, this 

sarcastic letter was sent to the editor: 

"Dear Sir... 

The Process combines the worst aspects of both Nazi Germany and 

Communist China. Our methods hear a striking resemblance to the 

techniques of brainwashing and we incorporate all the components of an 

authoritative regime. In fact, we are the most authoritative authoritarian, 

Nazi, Communist, brainwashing organisation in the business. Members of the 

Process are both anarchist and fascist, dangerous megalomaniacs and 

brainwashed zombies (on alternative days) ... One thing surprises us. Your 

two sleazy would-be exposers managed to invent so much other rubbish 

about us, but no sex? No orgies? No perversions? Not one sex maniac 

amongst the lot of us? Or would this make us too acceptable to your 


The intrinsic irony of the Process stance, as typified by the above letter, 

invariably went right over the heads of those against whom it was aimed. 

The Process expanded its war against the Grey Forces, spreading out 

from its posh headquarters in London's chic Mayfair district to several major 

cities in the United States. The Satanic and Luciferian side of the Process 

trinity attracted by far the most attention, and Processeans dressed in 

flamboyant black cloaks and medallions bearing the symbol of the Goat of 

Mendes soon became a familiar sight in the counterculture communities that 

sprouted up like so many psilocybin mushrooms in the late 1960s. Soup 

kitchens, a radio show, a Lucifer-themed coffee house, and the omnipresent 

Process magazine sold on the streets; all spread the Processean evangel to its 

mostly young constituency. After settling on the harsher name, Process 

Church of the Final Judgement, the DeGrimstons became increasingly 

autocratic, leaving behind the more experimental mode in which they had 

begun. Robert DeGrimston now styled himself as the archetype of Christ the 

Emissary, and his image and personality became the glue holding the Church 

together, much as the messianic figure of L. Ron Hubbard had dominated 

Scientology, from which the DeGrimstons had learned so much. Mary Anne 

DeGrimston, ex-prostitute, made for an ideal Mary Magdalene for the cult. 

Robert DeGrimston's portrayal of Christ from a Process magazine in 
1968 - which can probably also be read as a self-portrait - is in keeping with 
our earlier description of Jesus as a left-hand path inspirer of insubordination: 

"Christ is an outsider. Christ will always be an outsider ... He is a rebel, a 

non-conformer, a protestor, a disturber of the peace, a thorn in the flesh of the 

self-righteous and self-satisfied, a despiser of the accepted norm, a wanderer 


of the wastes, an outcast, a destroyer of accepted values and a caster aside of 

convention." Although it is unlikely that he was aware of his work, 

DeGrimston also mirrors Jack Parsons' Gnostic view of Jesus. The 

DeGrimston concept of Satan and Lucifer as distinctly separate entities who 

will preside with Christ over a coming new age is also reminiscent of the sexmagical 

theology of Naglowska's Golden Arrow and Gregorius's Fraternitas 

Saturni, both of which presented a similar Satanic Gnosticism replete with an 

Aeonic concept. 

After the arrest of Charles Manson in 1969, and the subsequent 

media exposure of his claimed identity with Christ and Satan, the Process 

found themselves with a public relations disaster on their hands that even 

their well-honed irony could not evade. Tagged as an inspiration for the 

Manson murders, the Process began to disintegrate. The inevitable tension 

between the Satanic/Luciferian wing and the Jehovan/Christian side of the 

Process intensified under this pressure. Coupled with the DeGrimstons' 

failing marriage, these traumas ultimately led to schism. In 1974, Mary Anne 

unsuccessfully attempted to reform the Process as a strictly Jehovan 


Despite its origins in the Babalon current, the Process does not appear to 

have been a genuine manifestation of the left-hand path, although several of 

its methods are useful for those who follow the Western way of the sinister. 

One direct connection to the cult of the Scarlet Woman was the 

DeGrimstons' ultimately unsuccessful attempt to purchase Crowley's 

abandoned Abbey of Thelema on Cefalu and refurbish it as a religious center. 

At the heart of the cult stood the contrasexual energy emanated by the 

DeGrimstons, very much a latter-day Simon Magus and Helene. Although 

the DeGrimstons' sexual teaching may have been a useful method for freeing 

Processeans of inherited social conditioning - an essential initial step of lefthand 

path liberation - this reprogramming was not followed up by any 

coherent system of sexual self-awakening. Was it all a sophisticated mind 

game, an archetypal 1960s put-on? A cynical business enterprise designed to 

milk a generation of gullible spiritual seekers? Since the group's demise, 

unreliable conspiracy theorists have accused the Process of masterminding a 

Satanic crime network of monstrous proportions. Such unfounded hearsay 

almost seems like a logical consequence of the Process's often reckless 

provocation of the Grey Forces and its sacred cows. In a conversation with 

one of the authors in 1989, Robert DeGrimston, unwilling to court publicity 

concerning his notorious 1960s experiment in social anthropology and 

religion, politely dismissed the Process as merely a "youthful phase." No 

doubt, this reasonable assessment is more enlightening than all the hysterical 

rumor-mongering that has been the unfortunate legacy of the Process. 


Kenneth Grant - Typhonian Sex Magick From Outer Space 

Say what one will of the work of the controversial British sex magician 

Kenneth Grant (b. 1924), he must at least he given credit for inspiring strong 

reactions. Grant, one of the few Thelemites to identify themselves 

unambiguously with the left-hand path, is revered and loathed with more or 

less equal intensity. Taking Thelemic sex magick far beyond the Crowleyobsessed 

limitations of others working more dogmatically in the Beast's 

tradition, Grant has written of the Babalon Working in his Outside The 

Circles Of Time that "Parsons opened a door and something flew in." Grant's 

sex magical teaching has been conveyed through the vehicle of the so-called 

Typhonian O.T.O., a name which acknowledges the importance of the 

sinister Set-Typhon to his cosmology Grant applies sexual ecstasy and the 

erotically charged raising of the kundalini fire serpent to communicate with 

what he understands as extraterrestrial entities, noting that the first UFO 

sightings occurred in 1947, shortly after the Babalon Working. 

Grant has also theorized that the first nuclear explosions in 1945 also 

played a part in unleashing the same "powers from the other side" that 


Hubbard and Parsons were simultaneously calling forth through sex magic. 

Odd though this latter idea may seem, it is relevant that even a strict 

rationalist like the scientist Robert Oppenheimer, one of the developers of the 

atomic bomb was spontaneously inspired to utter a sacred litany from the 

Indian Bhagavad Gila - "I am become Death, destroyer of Worlds" - upon 

witnessing the first experimental mushroom cloud looming before him like 

an apparition of Kali. 
Grant met Crowley in 1944, and knew him until his death in 1947, a 

period in which Parsons was in steady correspondence with the Beast 

concerning the Agape Lodge and the Babalon Working and its consequences. 

In 1945, after meeting this promising young initiate, Crowley wrote to his 

associate Louis Wilkinson that "I am trying to get him to look after me and 

my work," uncharacteristically praising the novice Grant as "a definite gift 

from the Gods." Despite Grant's later attempt at developing Crowley's system 

of sexual initiation, the subject of sex magick was apparently never 

mentioned during his apprenticeship to the old Ipsissimus. 

"I wish I'd been aware at that time of the great importance in his 

system of sexual magick," Grant later told the author John Symonds, 

"because I would have asked him a lot of questions on that subject ... When I 

did bring up the subject he was evasive. I remember on one occasion he 

brushed my query aside with the words, 'There'll be time for that later. - 

Presumably, the Beast did intend to reveal the sexual magick of the O.T.O. to 

Grant, as it would seem that he quickly viewed his student as a potential 

leader, commenting in a March 1946 diary entry: "Value of Grant: if I die or 

go to U.S.A., there must be a trained man to take care of English O.T.O." 

Save for a few sensational journalistic accounts focusing primarily 
on the L. Ron Hubbard angle, it was Grant's work, beginning with his first 

and perhaps most lucid book, The Magical Revival (1972) which most 
forcefully kept memory of Parsons and the Babalon Working alive for many 

years. Grant's heir apparent in the Typhonian O.T.O., Michael Staley, has 

also contributed a great deal to the arcane field of Babalonogy, especially his 

essay Beloved Of Babalon, an objective Parsons biographical essay first 

published in the 1980s in the Typhonian O.T.O. magazine Starfire. 

Taking off in the "heretical" direction from which Parsons left off, 

Grant makes a valiant attempt to move Thelemic sex magick firmly into the 

left-hand path tradition, in contradiction to Crowley's own self-identification 

as a brother of the right-hand path. The most useful aspect of Grant's books to 

the left-hand path sex magician is his learned introduction of authentic Varna 

Marga lore and methodology into a Western magical context. Typhonian 

O.T.O. rituals replace the Masonic theatrics of Crowley's time with genuine 

Tantric techniques. In keeping with both the Varna Marga and the Parsons 

innovations in the cult of the Scarlet Woman, Grant recognizes the dark 


feminine esoteric principle and the physical female body as the Shakti source 

of left-hand path initiation, especially as incarnated in the trained devadasis 

and suvasinis. Grant's work frequently credits his wife Steffi, a talented 
graphic artist in the Spare tradition, as his Scarlet Woman, magical partner 

and a frequent illustrator of his books. 

Although Grant does acknowledge Crowley's value as a teacher, he 

shares none of his mentor's prejudices concerning the inferiority of 

womankind. Indeed, Grant's writing suggests that Crowley, in his 

phallocentrism, completely failed to understand the essential role of woman 

in sex magic. In his Typhonian Trilogy, Grant places special emphasis on the 

unique magical properties of the sexual amrita secreted by the Shakti during 

the secret rite of Tantra, and the vaginal emanations of the yogini during 

Varna Marga operations of ecstasy. In Grant's left-hand path reworking of 

Crowley's O.T.O. system of degrees, the XI° consists of copulation with a 

menstruating female rather than the homosexual anal sex rite that the Great 

Beast considered the summit of sex magical power. This doctrinal divergence 

from Crowleyan scripture, which is more in line with the yonicentric Tantric 

left-hand path, has led some more traditional Thelemites to accuse Grant of 


Along with Grant's creative efforts to replace the anti-yon z energies 

of Crowleyan orthodoxy with a Western sex magic that gives pride of place 

to the sinister authority of the Feminine Daemonic, his work is also 
interesting historically as the first written source to link the ancient Egyptian 

deity Set and the left-hand path. Grant repeatedly strives to establish Set as 

the hidden patron of an ancient sex magical current, which Grant terms the 

Draconian, or Typhonian, tradition. For him, Set is the original essence of the 

Yezidi Shaitan, the Judeo-Christian Satan, and the Great Beast 666 of 
Revelations. (He seems to have based this last doubtful theory on an obscure 

1916 book entitled The Two Babylons, written by Alexander Hislop, a 

minister with an interest in the religions of antiquity) Accordingly, Typhon, 

the Greek manifestation of Set, and an interdimensional gate known as the 

"Tunnels of Set" play important roles in the Grantean interpretation of lefthand 

path erotic illumination. 

Unfortunately, it must be said that some of Grant's work is seriously 

flawed by his penchant for indulging in subjective and unscholarly occult 

fantasies, which often rival the muddled theories of Madame Blavatsky in 

their dazzling flights of incoherence. For instance, the serious student of the 

sinister current sex magic tradition will find little enlightenment in Grant's 

hypothesis that the left-hand path as it survives in India is actually a 

degenerated remnant of a cult that not only goes back to ancient Egypt, 

prehistoric Africa, and the ever popular Atlantis but was originally imported 

to Earth from extraterrestrial beings from "Trans-Plutonic" outer space. 
According to Grant, Tantric sexual initiation is simply one of the "cults of the 


shadow" descended from this alien strain, which also survives among us 

earthlings as Voodoo and Thelema. As one proof of this connection between 

Egyptian magic and Indian Tantra, Grant suggests - in defiance of any 

accepted Egyptian and Sanskrit etymologies - that the Sanskrit Shakti 

(power) is connected to the Egyptian Sekhem, which also means "power." 

To glean what may be of actual use for the practice of sinister sex 

magic in Grant's writings, one must also work through surreal descriptions of 

sperm-sucking Mayan squid-bats surviving in abandoned chapels, aetheric 

monsters that breed in menstrual blood, and the premise that apes are the 

result of prehistoric human copulation with extraterrestrials, all hung together 

with obfuscatory detours into Quabalistic numerology. Your head will spin 

when confronted with such typical Grantisms as "clepydral horologue", 

"infra-liminal vibrations" and "sexo-somniferous magnetization." 

Nevertheless, there are those sex magicians who swear by this stuff, 

apparently operating on the questionable postulate that whatever is written in 

a sufficiently obscure style must conceal extremely precious secret 

Another major aspect of Kenneth Grant's legacy is his single-handed 
devotion to bringing the work of the once obscure British sex magician and 
inspired artist Austin Osman Spare (1886 — 1956) - whom he befriended in 
the last decade of his life - to prominence. Indeed, Grant's interpretation of 
Spare's sex-magical theories, communicated to him first-hand, has been far 
more influential than the sometimes unintelligible writings of Spare himself. 
Grant specifically describes Spare as a magician of the left-hand path in his 

Images And Oracles Of Austin Osman Spare. 

Crowley, who briefly knew Spare in his youth, also damned the artist 

as "a black brother," that is to say, a follower of the left-hand path. Primarily, 

this seems to he due to Spare's magical philosophy of "self-love," which 

Crowley considered to be a destructive and ego-affirming practice. A crucial 

aspect of Spare's self-love was the magical creation of elementals through 


According to Grant, Spare, who seems to have been a half-mad old hermit by 

the time Grant encountered him, believed himself to be in perpetual sexmagical 

congress with these autoerotically engendered astral creatures. These 

entities, which Spare considered as his familiars, were supposedly born of his 

semen like the succubi of old. Spare informed Grant that these esoteric 

organisms "copulated among themselves, engendering offspring 

simultaneously" Describing Spare's younger days, when his dashing good 

looks were still capable of attracting real (rather than astral) women, Grant 

wrote that "such was [Spare's] hunger that in one night he copulated with 

eighteen woman, calling these outbursts: Dionysiac spasms of pansexualism 

in which he had visions of all things fornicating all the time," an idea similar 

to Crowley's description of Babalon as "constant copulation or samadhi on 


everything." Spare's recognition of the Feminine Daemonic is a major part of 

his work, as illustrated by his claimed magical tutelage as a youth by a 

woman he described as a "witch." 

It is primarily through Grant's explication of Austin Osman Spares's 

magical practice that the sexual utilization of sigils has become such a 

commonplace practice among modern magicians, although it is the advocates 

of the school of Chaos Magick that have taken credit for this trend. 

We are of the opinion that Spare's magic was most effectively 

communicated through his often erotic artwork. Thus our sparse coverage of 

his oblique theory and practice, which in its extreme subjectivity seems to 

have been more of a personal method than a teaching communicable to 

others. Nevertheless, the visionary creation of powerful images, in which 

Spare excelled, is in itself an act of magic. Spare makes for an instructive 

example that the sex magic of the left-hand path need not be communicated 

only through the left brain's rational prism; the surreal image-producing 
faculties of the right brain may be an even more forceful medium. (Much the 

same could be said of the accomplished magical artist Rosaleen Norton, 
whose practice of a demonic sexual magic and her erotic esoteric paintings 
scandalized her native Australia, but who left behind no specific teaching or 

practical written record of her thought.) 

Grant, as long ago as the 1950s, was also the first magician to posit 

the fictional dark gods of H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos as a genuine 

pantheon of deities. This line of thought, in its most debased form, has 

unfortunately led already delusion-prone magicians to adopt Lovecraft's 

horror tales as a form of religious scripture, even inspiring some to perform 

erotic rituals to attempt contact with these fictional beings. Lovecraft, himself 

a sworn atheist and sexual prude who rejected all forms of magical thought 

and recoiled from feminine contact, must truly be spinning in his grave at the 

idea of sex magic for Cthulhu. But in his often derided connection of the UFO 

phenomenon and Lovecraftian fantasy fiction with sex magic, Grant is also 

very much in the otherwordly lineage of Jack Parsons, for whom the 
distinction between sci-fi daydreams and sexual sorcery was often blurred. 

And yet, even if his scholarship often stands on shaky ground, Grant 
must be counted as a force to be reckoned with as the first author to firmly 

place Western sex magic and the Babalon current in context with the 

authentic left-hand path, which he accurately describes as the Varna Marga. 

Rather than rest on Crowley's laurels, he provided modern sex magicians with 

untried Eastern keys to erotic enlightenment, propounding a sex-magical 

apocalypse that can be seen as a Western emanation of the Kali Yuga. He has 

been accused by his detractors of humorlessly wallowing in the slime of an 

adolescent obsession with naughty sexual depravity for it's own sake. His 

admirers just as ardently hail him as a sinister visionary who will be 
remembered as the only creative and original sex magician to emerge from 

the group of young men who were Crowley's final students. 


The Sinister Current In Action 



Sex-Magical Self-Initiation 

A Crash Course For The Kali Yuga 

What is the good of talking? To speak of such things means nothing. If one 

worships with the flowers of the menses, that one possesses power over 

destiny. Worshipping often in this way, he may attain liberation. The initiate 

should seat a Shakti in a circle. She should be lewd, lovely, lacking all shame 

and disgust, naturally captivating, infinitely seductive and beautiful. After 

bestowing vijaya upon the Shakti, one should worship her with the greatest 

devotedness. She should be seated on his left, and he should worship her 


— Yoni Tantra 

The shape of the map to the left-hand path that we set out to delineate should 

now be clear enough. After reading the foregoing sections of this book, it 
becomes evident that while the outer forms of the sinister current have taken 

an astounding multiplicity of shapes in their manifestation in time, some 

even seemingly inconsistent with each other, the inner essence is remarkably 

similar. It is this timeless and elemental substance of the way of the left, 

expressed though all of the diverse magical systems we have considered, 

that we have sought to isolate. 

We have already provided more than ample indications throughout 

the preceding chapters - sometimes explicitly, sometimes more subtly - as 

to how the various historical methods of the universal sinister current can be 

applied to your own life. You may well have already taken upon it yourself 

to experiment with some of the sex-magical processes of illumination 

outlined in the previous pages. If not, the preceding sections of Demons Of 

The Flesh have been constructed to he reviewed with the idea of translating 

the concepts explicated therein to the conditions of the reader's current level 

of initiation. There are not - indeed there cannot be - any fixed rules for 

sexually awakening the daemon that dwells in your flesh. 

Each must find his or her own way to embody the sinister current in 

the nine-gated temple of your body. There is the voyage that takes one 

through the traditional training of Tantra that leads from pashu to divya by 

the arousal of the fire serpent under the power of Shakti. As a Scarlet 

Woman, an embodiment of the ancient Babalon current, you may become the 


priestess of Her shrine. As a consequence of the forced exodus of Tibetan 

teachers from their homeland, the secret knowledge of the Vajrayana may be 

communicated to those who brave the wrathful lemons to enjoy the blissful 

embrace of the Dakini. Regardless of your gender, you may be empowered 

by the gnosis, transformed into a magus or thaumaturge like Christ and 

Simon through the descent of the Holy Spirit of Sophia, She of the Left 

Hand. You may follow the path of he troubadour and the knight, in troth to 

the unattainable Lady, in search of the Feminine Daemonic materialized in 

the Graal. The yin-tao practiced in the royal bedchambers of the Chinese 

emperors promises immortality to those who master its discipline. By 

comparison, much less objective data remains to induct modern initiates into 

the Northern sexual mysteries of the seithr, or the ancient Egyptian 

erotomagical cult of Set, but this has certainly not stopped the romantic and 

the fanciful from trying to resurrect these practices. 

The names and the symbols have changed a thousand tunes. But the 

primordial act that yokes the two halves of male and female in its ecstatic 

coupling, sending its signal from left to right, creating the mystery of the 

third consciousness, transcends all words and images. The adept of the 

sinister current in this age is no longer compelled to follow only one route to 

illuminated libertinage. Unlike your ancient forebears, limited in their access 

to information, you can afford to take an eclectic approach in accomplishing 

the magician's task enumerated in the introduction: namely, to "integrate 

complex symbolic systems, synthesize them with personal experience, and 

create from this synthesis [your] own unique direction on the left-hand path". 

These final three chapters are more specifically directed to begin 

placing theory into practice, words into action, as we enter that place where 

abstract explanation must finally be realized in the workings of the body. 

This section provides the would-be adept with a number of exercises 

and experiments that can, at the very least, open the gate that leads to the lefthand 

path, while allowing for a treatment of several aspects of erotic 

initiation only briefly touched on earlier. Among these is the initiatory 

application of autoeroticism and same-sex eroticism, which may at first seem 

contradictory to the sinister current, based as it is upon the transmission of 

sexual energy between two consorts of the opposite sex. The succeeding 

chapter sets forth a left-hand approach to the initiatory utilization of the orgy, 

the aspect of sex magic that, to our experience, always seems to attract the 

most foolish speculation and uninformed prurient interest. Finally, we 
conclude with a guide to the maya-transforming incorporation of that nexus 

of painful pleasures and ecstatic pain that is generally known as 

"sadomasochism" - for some the furthest unexplored periphery of sinister 

sex, for others an everyday aspect of their erotic interactions. These chapters 

will concern themselves largely with the relatively clear-cut goals of sexual 


sorcery - and to a lesser extent theurgy - on the supposition that the higher 

mode of left-hand path erotic mysticism must be discovered by each 

individual adept on his or her own terms. Sexual sorcery, based as it is on the 

realization of specific goals, is a discipline that will provide the initiate with 

useful lessons in the nature of maya that can hardly be learned through any 

other means. Sexual mysticism, a stage to which the successful sorcerer may 

eventually proceed once sorcery's lessons are impressed upon the mind, 

dispenses with goals altogether as a more comprehensive communication 

with the daemon inhabiting your flesh is facilitated. 

The recommendations for action we offer here are rooted entirely in 

our own experiences teaching the methods of the sinister current to 

contemporary Westerners, and are accordingly aimed at the unique 

psychosexual and cultural conditions that hold sway in the modern world. In 

our view, these peculiar circumstances cannot be sufficiently addressed by 

attempts to import Eastern left-hand path methods to Western minds. It is not 

our desire to transform Western initiates into Indians or Tibetans, as 

sometimes seems to be the case in more traditional guru to chela relations. 

This commonly observed practice makes as little sense to us as attempting to 

introduce the traditional European style of magic, with its medieval robes 

and bells, its candles and its swords, to initiates in Calcutta or Lhasa. As we 

enter the 21st century, we find neither of these methods to be efficacious - as 

noted earlier, our goal is a distillation and a synthesis of the most universally 

applicable of what has come before, an alchemy that leads to a sinister 

current truly suited for our times. 

The suggestions that follow, it must be clarified, can only lead one to 

take the very first steps on the left-hand path. In no way should your 

explorations end with the reading of this book. The direction you should take 

after choosing to follow these experiments, or rejecting them, according to 

will, cannot possibly be predicted. However, we have noted one very general 

consequence that tends to arise when a magician opens him/herself towards 

accepting the energy of the sinister direction for the first time. You will know 

that you have indeed begun to separate from the confining limits of the pashu 

world and entered the heroic route to sinister liberation, the Svecchacari way 

of doing as one wills as what one Tantra calls "a living Shiva on earth", 

because an infinite number of choices will present themselves to you. 

Teachers, Schools And Sirens 

You may be fortunate enough, for example, to come across a genuine 

teacher, most likely in an entirely unexpected form, who can escort you much 

further on the path. The absolute necessity of personal face-to-face 

communication spoken from mouth-to-ear in left-hand path initiation - in 

contrast to written transmission - has already been made clear. The following 


aspects of left-hand path initiation can only be learned in person from one has 

already experienced and mastered them. Just as no book can convey these 

somatically-based objective facets of the sinister current, it is also absurd to 

suppose that internet mailing lists, websites or instruction via email can 

transmit digital initiation. As you may have surmised from the previous 

sections of this guide, some of the basic techniques that only a physical 

teacher can communicate to you arc: 
• Reliable ability to reach heightened states of consciousness 

• Discovery and manipulation of the subtle and causal bodies (by whatever 
names you choose to call them) within the physical vessel, including out-ofbody 


• Arousal of Kundalini 

• Mastery of breath control 

• Control of the inner optic faculties, allowing for sustained visualization 

• Vocal control and the realm of sonic magic, including proper enunciation 

of mantras and other vocal techniques 

• Physical posture, flexibility and stamina of the body, inner and outer 
muscle control, including strengthening of the perineum and genitals 

necessary for sexual magic 
• Techniques of prolonging and sustaining orgasm as a means of 

consciousness alteration 

• Stilling of extraneous thought at will, for purposes of attaining deep 

psychic focus and transcending verbally based thought processes 

It may well be that you will require the assistance of several different 

teachers to acquire all of these skills, which will invariably necessitate 

accepting those aspects of a teaching that are personally useful, while 

consciously rejecting what is superfluous to your objectives. Augmenting 

these skills by learning any concentrated physical discipline, such as martial 

arts, dance, or yoga can only be an advantage for the sex magician. These 

systems of cultivation will center your body, the primary tool of the sinister 

current, bridging the illusory break between mind and body encouraged by 

our overly cerebral and verbal culture. 

It's very likely that you will undergo the bitter but often necessary 

learning experience of being led astray by any number of false teachers. As 

with any esoteric discipline, there is no limit to the amount of would-be 

teachers and gurus who will gladly volunteer to personally initiate you into 

the mysteries of sex magic with private lessons. These magnanimous offers 

dramatically increase based on your attractiveness, youth and naivete. 

Wouldn't such a helpful person be the ideal sex-magical ally? All things 

considered ... not necessarily. The extreme potential for exploitation and self- 


delusion that any teacher/student power dynamic potentially provides 

becomes even more intensified once sex magic comes into the picture. 

In all erotic interactions, the untrained will tend to project subjective 

overlays upon their partners. These projections can be deliberately utilized 

during sexual magic for sorcerous or initiatory objectives. When the partner 

is ostensibly one's spiritual teacher, one can easily fall prey to unconscious 

imaginings that cloud the actual nature of the supposed teacher, idealizing or 

vilifying him or her according to circumstance. A legitimate teacher will 
know how to work around these projections, but an unscrupulous charlatan 
will manipulate them to his or her advantage. That being said, a teacher can 

be most useful for encouraging an initiate to go beyond the limits he or she is 
comfortable with, but the danger of being taken advantage of exists and must 

be cautiously observed and avoided. This is simply one of the possible 
dangers of the left-hand path that one must come to terms with. It is a quest 

of liberation that takes place in the real world, necessitating the always 

potentially risky and disillusioning contact with the unstable and unreliable 

chaos of humanity. If you desire absolute safety, the way of ascetic solitude 

and retreat - the way of the monk - is probably better suited for you than the 

left-hand path. 

You may also, for a time, encounter an authentic school of initiation 

that will provide you with the friction and opportunity for comparison one 

needs to develop. But as already mentioned, the inbuilt conflict between 

essentially control-dominated human group dynamics and the radical 
liberatory objectives of the sinister current often limits the value of such 

group alliances. 

Finally, there is an archetypal tradition in almost every culture and 

mythology, that as soon as the initiate takes the first step towards his or her 

liberation, or approaches a new breakthrough in the Great Work, an obstacle, 

disguised as a blessing, reveals itself as a test. Not infrequently, this 

manifests as a sexually desirable man or woman. Victor Neuburg, Crowley's 

much abused student, wrote poetically of this ordeal in his The New Diana, 

in 1912: "There is one who all but fell into the abyss, through the Wiles of a 

Syren; for she by her seductions closed against him the way of Initiation ... 

even to the brink of Hell was lured that Disciple; the White Breasts and dark 

eyes of Lilith stood even between him and the Great Gods, wherefore the 

gods smote him heavily for his Perfidy to Them and his Master. And this 

Syren was the Projection of the Disciple himself upon the Screen of the 

visible Universe, even as Lilith was a projection of the god Adonia." 

Neuburg was referring to a young woman with whom he fell in love 

at a crucial juncture in his training. Since the poet envisioned himself as a 

walker of the right-hand path, he naturally interpreted the wiles of the "Syren 

... Lilith" as a lure from his course. The adept of the left-hand path, would be 


more likely to interpret the appearance of such a "Syren" - whether male or 

female - as the manifestation of the opposite-sex sex-magical consort with 

whom the unio mystica of the left-hand path can be realized. Neuburg's 

metaphor of "the Screen of the visible Universe" as a "Projection of the 

Disciple" aptly describes the left-hand path idea that the magician is partially 

responsible for the creation of his or her consort, through the workings of 

maya; the infinitely desirable Shakti is created in her adoring Shiva's mind. 

But developing sufficient discernment to judge the difference between those 

manifestations of Shakti-maya that lead one to gnosis and those that are 

delusive mirages is the work of many years of testing one's self against the 

complexities of the shifting phenomena of the wide world. Thus, the blind 

optimist who selectively prefers to see only "the good side" of all human 

beings is as hopelessly crippled by self-created maya as the bitter cynic who 

can only see the worst aspects of humanity. The adept observes the spectacle 

of humanity with both eyes, and from as many possible viewpoints as 


From considering our own lives, and the actual experiences of longtime 

sex magicians, it seems to us that the true teachers of sex magic will 

appear in the course of your initiation when you least anticipate them and not 

necessarily as intentional teachers. For the most part, the initiator or initiatrix 

that guides you into sex-magical breakthroughs of authentic meaning is far 

more likely to manifest spontaneously as part of your everyday life, rather 

than in the formal guise of guru. Until that teacher, school or sex-magical 

alter ego does appear, the following exercises and experiments will prepare 

you for the journey ahead. 

Sexual Deconditioning And Reprogramming 

As the preceding pages have demonstrated, left-hand path sex magic actually 

begins in the workings of your mind, which has truly been called the most 

important of the erogenous zones. One of the great advantages of sex magic 

is that it is a very pure form, physically requiring nothing more than the body 

and mind of the magician to be efficacious. For those who would gladly 
dispense with the quaint bric-a-brac of the traditional magic of yore, there is 
no more direct and powerful method of achieving one's external and internal 

magical goals. 

Many advocates of the traditional Tantric left-hand path techniques 

described in the first section of this book may find that their sex magic is 

enhanced by the use of mandalas, yantras, incorporation of the five M's, and 

other ritual objects. But by no means should the pragmatic sinister current 

sex magician feel that such external properties are mandatory. The essential 

principles of the Varna Marga can all be internalized, paring the operation 

down to the only truly necessary sex magical tool - the body. The magician 

who discards the colorful crutches provided by the conventional apparatus of 


Western and Eastern ceremonial magic is immediately confronted by the 

challenges of working only with the stark biological-psychic fundamentals of 

basic existence. This dramatic stripping down to the core of your physical 
being can be - and should be - a daunting initiatory shock if considered in all 

of its ramifications. 

With any magical study, it is easy to forget that the magician is 

inextricably bound into a social and cultural context that inevitably influences 

his or her magical practice and ideas. The sinister current seeks to isolate the 

self from external influence as much as possible, but recognizes that we are 

all creatures of our particular environment. To accurately estimate whether or 

not you are personally equipped to undergo the erotic-magical journey 

offered by this book's teaching, you must first consider yourself in light of 

your relation to the everyday life you actually live. The method of magic we 

teach is not intended as casual entertainment. Nor is it designed as a means 

for trivial "fun" that takes your mind off of your mundane concerns, 

alleviating that tedious discomfort that comes with self-awareness. 

On the contrary, the sinister current as delineated here will only 

increase your awareness of the realities of your self, not serve as a distraction 

from them. This is a magic firmly rooted in the larger world of Kali Yuga 

with all of its frustrations and demands, not a gateway to a never-never land 

of soothing occult fantasy. Naturally, erotic sorcery offers joys and ecstasies 

of the body and psyche that few ever experience in the normal run of habitual 

somnambulism that passes for most human sexual pleasure. However, those 

ecstasies must always be grounded in the reality of the magician's daily 

existence, and do not serve as a ready-made opiate stupefying the senses and 

numbing the consciousness. There is a very good reason why most human 

beings prefer the great slumber of Supla to the awakening of Bodha: 

moments of awakening from delusion are at first painful, usually leading the 

awakened to run screaming back to the comforts of sleep. This is true 

whether one applies the Tantric method of awakening through arousal of the 

Kundalini, attempts the "super-efforts" of Gurdjieffian practice, the 

attainment of the gnosis, or any of the many other viable techniques that 


We begin by impassively examining sex, the motor that drives the 

sinister current, as the energy that holds humanity in its thrall. In our view, 

sex is simply a force of surpassing power, similar to radioactivity or 
electricity. Much like these other energy sources, Eros cannot be objectively 

described as positive or negative - such assessments depend entirely on 
circumstance and the perspective of the observer. Those who condemn it as 
depraved and degrading are as misguided as their opposite number who sing 

the praises of the orgasm as the greatest good in the universe. In the West, 
centuries of relentless Christian abomination of the flesh have finally yielded 


to a somewhat more objective understanding of sexuality. However, the 

realization that Eros is not a shameful Satanic agent of sin does not mean that 

sexuality should be fatuously romanticized either. Eros, like all truly 

numinous forces, surpasses both good and evil and is ultimately neutral. The 

left-hand sex magician who wishes to marshal this notoriously unpredictable 

power to his or her own desires must also examine the abyss of the shadow 

side of Eros as well as its more beneficent aspects. 

To determine your deepest and most authentic sexual tastes and 

desires, as opposed to merely adopting the standard issue images generated 

from external societal sources, one must also severely cut away the images of 

ideal sexual partners picked up by proxy from your family, friends and wider 

human environment. Although this process may seem like a fairly 

straightforward - even mundane - process, there is actually a fundamental 

spiritual component hidden within this task. For when we forcefully reject 

the received and inherited models of objects of desire in favor of our own 

archetypes of lust, we come closer to revealing the inner image of the 

opposite sex alter ego that truly energizes our sexual essence - the anima and 

the animus. There is no formula guaranteeing that the mysterious affiliation 

with one's sexual alter ego will actually come about on the physical plane - 

the discovery of the inner mate in the outer phenomenal world is actually a 

rare feat of magic. But the female left-hand path sex magician's quest for her 

"brother soul" will never be accomplished if she has been programmed to 

find her mother's conception of a perfect consort, just as the male sex 
magician is unlikely to find his "sister soul" if his criteria derives from an 

airbrushed, sanitized image in Playboy. 

In a culture that at least pays lip service to the virtuous properties of 

the erotic, the sinister current sex magician can learn much from analyzing 

the flip side of the popular view One quickly ascertains that the same force 

that the illuminated libertine applies to self-transformation and liberation is 

overwhelmingly utilized as a control mechanism and tool of persuasion in 

Western society at large. So overwhelming is the power of the sexual 

experience on the human psyche that both the explicit and sublimated 

expression of Eros suffuses the entire cultural landscape. Sexuality is 

certainly the primary selling point compelling the consumer to sacrifice to the 

faceless gods of capitalism. A copious flow of sexual fluid oils the wheels of 

Western commerce. Products with not the least apparent connection to 

sexuality, including automobiles, Internet service providers and ice cream are 

merchandised as indispensable aphrodisiac devices possessed of boundless 

seductive allure. The fashion industry and the cosmetics and beauty 

businesses aggressively sell women the comforting idea that their wares will 

make them utterly irresistible. Every branch of the mass media generates a 

breathless orgy of sexual and pseudo-sexual imagery cannily designed to 


captivate its transfixed prey. 

The music industry offers endless variations on the theme of carnal 

passion, pitched to the specialized tastes of a wide array of erotic 

demographics. Mass market films and television offer their spectators 

idealized dreamworlds of erotic bliss, allowing fantasists to safely enter into 

vicarious libidinal reverie with their favorite celebrities; the ultimate in safe 

sex. One of the strangest mass psychosexual developments of the twentieth 

century was the rise of the erotic cult of the celebrity, a f etishization of the 

popular idol that has often proven how lethal thwarted sexual fantasy can 


It is not enough for the left-hand path sex magician to smugly be 

aware of these phenomena as something that happens to other people "out 

there" somewhere. Examine your own psyche and behavior and carefully note 

whether or not you are also drawn into the sexual seduction so skillfully plied 

by advertising and the mass media. What subtle or blatant sexual cues have 

persuaded you to purchase a given product? How have your own sexual 

preferences and tastes been molded by media imagery of supposedly desirable 

sex symbols? Once you have become more conscious of the hypnotic effect 

that this omnipresent sea of sexual imagery exercises on you, you will be 
better equipped to resist its external allure. Now you can pay closer attention 

to your inner sexual world., which is most likely constructed along very 

different lines than the pre-packaged ready-to-eat mass media presentation of 

erotic icons. You may well be challenged by the disturbing realization that the 

sexual fantasies and fetishes you imagined were your own have been 

programmed to a surprising degree by years of exposure to mass culture's 

ubiquitous reservoir of ceaseless audio-visual data. 

Such a realization can be the turning point that inspires you to turn off 

the source of the programming and take control of your own sexual 

conditioning, a necessity for any left-hand path sex magician. Very often, the 

first important act of sex magic in the modern world consists of grasping the 

persuasive power of mass culture on the libido and taking charge of one's own 

erotic desires. No one whose erotic being has developed under the 

bombardment of the mass media can completely be free of the implanting 

picked up via the incessant sexual signals and symbols generated from the 

cultural atmosphere. The magician, however, can willfully transform this 

process from an unconscious reception of external programming to a wakeful 

awareness of how sexual desire is shaped by blueprints originating in the 

mass media. It isn't enough to merely take our word for the following 

observations - examine with brutal honesty the roots of your particular sexual 

conditioning, the previously ignored Pavlovian training that shaped the 

architecture of your desires. And when you have identified these possibly 

hidden erotic motivators, decide which ones are truly yours and which have 

been unthinkingly learned from the constant barrage of media signals to 


which every man and woman in the West is subject. 

Assessing The Human Factor 

From reading the previous chapters, the novice left-hand path sex magician 

might presume that the ideal sexual partner who can serve as the deified male 

or female consort of the sinister sexual union can be found in the body of any 

sexually functioning human being. Indeed, one Tantra suggests that liberation 

can be found by properly trained initiatory congress with "all yonis." 

Arguably, those initiates who have attained an advanced ability to understand 

the deceptive swirl of maya may indeed be able to discover the transhuman 

alter ego in all sacralized sexual partners, and not only in his or her anima or 

animus. However, there are most definitely partners who will be far less 

suitable for this task than others. The left-hand path magician must be as alert 

to the criteria that rule out a potential sexual companion as he or she should 

be engaged in the quest for a suitable sex-magical accomplice. 

Despite the potential for joy inherent in the expression of sexuality, 

any careful observer of human behavior will quickly recognize that the 

majority of human beings are actually trapped in sexual relationships that 

provide them with little pleasure or erotic fulfillment. The medical and 

psychiatric professions are inundated with sexually frustrated patients seeking 

to attain the boundless erotic delights the media has suggested are so 

universal, but which the average person so often finds elusive. While 

sexuality is theoretically touted as the greatest joy that human beings can 

experience, it has frequently proven to be a source of their deepest misery and 


When one considers the general state of relations between the genders 

from a detached point of view, there can be little wonder that sex is very often 

far from the endless delight it is so often painted as and why these 

characterizations play such a needed role. Despite a few superficial and 

cosmetic changes - most of which have manifested on the political/economic 

level rather than in the erotic sphere - men and women are still confined to 

the playing out of hackneyed roles of the most shallow order. Since these 

sexual personae are largely the result of societal conditioning and 

programming, erotic interplay between the sexes tends to be as rigid, 

unimaginative and lacking in spontaneity as the robotic culture that spawned 

them. One can hardly expect the profound and. transformative sexual energy 

required for left-hand path erotic magic to be raised during the formulaic 

machinations that normally passes for sex between men and women. It is 

telling that the standard lingo of sexology and popular journalism alike speaks 

of "sexual performance". Indeed, the standard sexual interaction between men 

and women is all too often nothing more vital than a performance, a woefully 

artificial act that dramatizes sex according to an inflexible, badly written 

script. Such performances reduce the potentially illuminating and sacred 

power of Eros to a ludicrous caricature. 

Mercilessly consider your own daily erotic experience with these 

thoughts in mind, and when you have discovered elements of your sexual life 

that are false, obligatory, or in any way untrue to your deepest desires, 

carefully but completely remove these factors from your existence. We will 

cite just two of the most common examples of sexual hindrances that must be 

removed to free one's self to be a competent left-hand path sex magician; no 

doubt you will detect others. If you are romantically or erotically involved 

with a partner who consistently leaves you feeling drained and unenergized 

during and after sex with him/her, this erotic energy leak must be brought 

swiftly to an end. ( Julius Evola, in 1958's Metaphysics Of Sex coined the 

phrase "psychic vampirism" for this particular phenomenon, a coinage that 

has, aptly enough, since been appropriated without credit by many a psychic 

vampire in the occult world.) If you find yourself involved with a sexual 

partner with whom you simply cannot be aroused without constantly 

imagining sexual fantasies concerning other more desirable partners as an 

aphrodisiac during the act, this is another situation from which you must 

extricate yourself. Sexual energy is the chief weapon of the left-hand path 

magician, if it is continually forced to operate under such false conditions, it 

will be poisoned and substantially weakened. Tolerating sexual mediocrity; 

which is the norm for most human beings, cannot be accepted by the adept of 

the sinister current. 

Once having begun the process of consciously disconnecting from 

media and familial/ societal imprinting concerning sexuality, and then 

separating from hypocritical or depleting erotic entanglements - both of 

which are ongoing processes - the added clarity and understanding of your 

erotic essence can then be applied to thoroughly exploring the sexual power 

with surgical precision. 

The Shadow Side Of Sex 

This exploration is not best originated with a superficial examination of the 

euphoria and ecstasy sexuality can potentially create. Before we can 

productively chart these more pleasant realms in ourselves, the looming 

shadows of destruction cast by sexual desire must first be confronted 

squarely and without whitewashing. As any student of human nature knows, 

the powerful emotional and physiological changes that sexual pleasure can 

induce in the somatic and psychic centers also frequently give rise to 

jealousy, hatred, and irrational actions of the most unpredictable kind. 

In our generally sex-negative society, a few fleeting moments of 

orgasm has often led to literal and emotional blackmail. Sex is used by the 

powerful as a weapon of intimidation, and many women are forced to tolerate 


abusive sexual situations, using their bodies as the only means of sheer 

survival available to them. Quite apart from the practice of sacred prostitution 

and those who freely choose to work as prostitutes, there is the far more 

prevalent practice of sexual exploitation by pimps, and the literal sexual 

slavery forced upon deceived immigrants. Child pornography is a booming 

business, and child molestation is an ugly open secret of the Catholic Church 

and an alarming number of families. Overpopulation in impoverished 

countries is a veritable plague produced by sex, not to speak of the literal 

plague of AIDS and other venereal diseases that may be released by the 

ephemeral satiation of desire. 
All of these ruinous phenomena are produced by the thoughtless use 
of the very same blind force of sexual desire that the left-hand path initiate 
consciously harnesses to transcendent initiatory objectives. The actions of 
the irresponsible have distorted and created a biased public opinion about 
those who are open and responsible about their use of sexual magic. Eros, 

which can potentially be a bridge to self-deification, has much more 

frequently been a descent into sub-human states of being. To close one's 

eyes and pretend that Eros is an entirely benign power is simply foolish - it 

was not simply a poetic flourish that inspired the authors of the Tantras to 

describe the work of the left-hand path initiate as "walking on the edge of a 


Criminologists and law enforcement personnel have long been aware 

that one of the quintessential side-effects of sexuality is the so-called crime of 

passion, that most common of homicides. While many fear the unknown 

assailant, it's actually the person you've known the most intimately that could 

most likely be your murderer. The annals of crime offer abundant evidence 

that some of the most savage and excessively cruel slayings visited on the 

human body have been the handiwork of the victim's lover. 

This fact alone speaks to the dark power of Eros, whose chthonic 

ecstasies can lead the human heart to bliss or to bloodshed with equal ardor. 

The deep connection between Eros and Thanatos is as ancient as our species 

itself. The increasing prevalence in the industrialized West of the sexual 

serial killer, once a relatively rare aberration but now a banal staple of the 

daily news, clearly demonstrates how strong the synergy between carnal 

desire and destruction can be. 

Left-hand path sex magicians must come to terms with this concealed 

element of Eros if they are to fully appreciate the terrible power inherent in 

erotic desire and how to best master that desire. Writing of the sexually 

rapacious aspect of the god Pan in his introduction to Pan And The 

Nightmare, the psychologist James Hillman observed that "Pan the raper is a 

potential within every sexual impulse. Every erection may release him, 
implying a need for psychic deflowering." And as confronting such sinister 


goddesses as Kali and Babalon will make clear, the female of the species is 

just as prone to the darker, more destructive potentialities awakened by Eros 

as the male. 

When the sex magician invokes the demons of the flesh, he or she 

should realize that the bestial atavisms that lay just beneath the surface of 

socialized, civilized sexuality are never far from consciousness. Taking a 

hard look in the mirror of the psyche to analyze these atavisms in the 

magician's own being is an often overlooked necessity of erotic initiation. 

This contemplation is the beginning of reprogramming the mental circuitry 

that creates the primitive pashu instincts of jealousy and sexual ownership 

that must be nullified before left-hand path initiation can get very far. 

The Sexual Cosmonaut 
In a letter of paternal advice to the magician Charles Stansfeld Jones, Aleister 
Crowley once wrote: "I think that sexual knowledge should be based broadly 
on intercourse with, say, 1,000 women chosen from, say, 80 to 100 races and 

sub-races. Other branches of the study are easily mastered, except Sapphism, 

which is hard even to witness, as you have to be on very intimate terms with 

one of the girls, and if both are real exclusive sapphists, you can't be, unless 

you can work your Point of View as an artist or student of sex. I had an awful 

blow last November when a girl asked me 'Have you ever been pricked with 

needles in the dark?' and I had not. The red brand of shame sears my 

forehead to this hour." 

As is so often the case, Crowley was exaggerating to push the 

boundaries of a student he considered to be in need of a shock, but the 

underlying principle he defines is sound enough. Eros is the predominate 

medium through which the sinister current adept seeks liberation. It only 

follows that the wider his or her scope of experience is, and the more 
methodically the initiate pursues the infinite permutations of sexuality, the 

greater one's sex-magical repertoire will be. Each magician's journey to 

discover the full spectrum of sexual expression at his or her disposal must 

inevitably take vastly different forms, but a few general areas of pursuit can 

be suggested. 

You will have reached the desired objectivity in relation to sexuality 

when you can consider any sexual act calmly and without undue emotion. 

Whether or not you feel that you must personally experience each possible 

sexual variation to attain this level of detachment is of course an entirely 

personal decision. To varying degrees in different Western countries, sex is 

placed in a strange niche that can hardly be compared to any other bodily 

activity. For some, fucking can only be discussed in nervous whispers, for 

others it arouses prurient giggles; both a sure sign of the incipient fear and 

apprehension it commonly inspires. Demonized as a filthy, guilt-ridden 

degradation or placed on a pedestal as a holy act only to be performed under 

the aegis of love or marriage; both perspectives reveal the essential 
abnormality with which sex is still viewed by many All of these conditioned 

responses must he mastered and transcended. 

According to various regional codes, there are "appropriate" times 

and places allowing even for the discussion of sex, let alone its actual 

enjoyment. And although the mass media, as noted earlier, sells its wares 

aggressively through sexual symbolism, this apparently open demonstration 

of the erotic consistently conveys a signal that sex is anything but an ordinary 

aspect of human existence. To approach the sleeping serpent of sex magic 

with any degree of efficiency, the adept must first he able to regard sex as 

clinically as any other entirely normal function of the human body. Perhaps 

paradoxically, it is only then that the use of sex as a potentially sacred 

instrument of consciousness transformation can take place. 

The majority of men will not have a problem with the idea of fully 

researching their sexual mechanisms and breaking the conditioned borders of 

their erotic identities; the instinctive and natural biological imperative of the 

male body to spread his seed wide already provides men with a desire fur 

sexual experimentation. The female sex magician, however, must often 

contend with the powerful instinct that encourages her to nest with one mate, 

with whom sexuality is deeply connected with notions of monogamous love. 

Although not every woman is bound by such innate biological restraints, the 

vanquishing of these natural instincts is often a challenge requiring a 

conscious act of opposite-doing to accomplish. 

The left-hand path initiate must strive to deeply understand the 

workings of his or her libido in a comprehensive manner that most humans 

would prefer not to consider. To do this, the adept's sexual reactions, 

capabilities, quirks and deficiencies must be tested, challenged and overcome 

in as many situations as possible. What forms this process of ascertaining 

sexual self-knowledge will take must vary according to the diversity of each 

magician's personal erotic essence; outlining a standard program would be 


However, some explorers of sexual frontiers have been aided by 

considering the omnipresent mystery of Eros from two sharply divergent 

perspectives. The first, the esoteric point of view, goes some way toward 

providing a rationale explaining the tremendous power to fascinate possessed 

by sex. It derives from the Tibetan sacred text Bardo Thodol - popularly 

known as "The Tibetan Book Of The Dead" - technically, a guide fur the 

recently dead aimed at the avoidance of reincarnation. 

There, we learn that in one of the Bardos, or levels, of after-death 

consciousness experienced by the bodiless spirit, the soul freed from its 

physical vessel is enthralled by the sight of copulating couples. If the soul 

does not exercise the most severe caution, it will be drawn inexorably 


towards the orgasming bodies, descending into matter. This descent 

guarantees rebirth as a male or female through the medium of sex. Henry 

Miller once joked: "Sex is one of the nine reasons fur reincarnation. The 

other eight are unimportant." If there can be said to be any objective truth to 

the Bardo Thodol, Miller was right: our daemons return again and again to 

fleshly form because of the absorbing power exerted by sex. 

Looking at sex from an entirely exoteric angle, through the prism of 

science, we find no less mysterious hidden factors at work. For even if we can 

erase some of the sexual conditioning imprinted in our minds by 

social/familial influences and modern media, millions of years of 

evolutionary and genetic imprinting has made each of us especially receptive 

to particular sex partners. We follow the unspoken commands of desire and 

attraction built into our brains by genetically conveyed erotic aesthetics that 

respond to specific smells, shapes and patterns totally beyond conscious 


With good reason, the unmistakable experience of "falling in love" 

has often been compared to the effect of drugs. As it turns out, this is literally 

true. When we encounter someone who accords to that inbuilt evolutionary 

ideal, the brain is automatically flooded with a pleasant rush of calming 

morphine-like endorphins, sealing our attraction with chemical reinforcement. 

Oxytocin, secreted by the pituitary gland during sex, secures the bond with a 

chemically-induced blast of tranquillity. Three potent naturally produced 

amphetamines are also pumped through the transfixed lover's brain; 

dopamine, phenylethylamine, and norepinephrine, all of them creating a 

euphoric high that can last as long as three years (an interesting statistic when 

compared to the average length of many marriages). 

Between the two esoteric/exoteric extremes of Tibetan reincarnation 

theory and the clinical measurements of Western sexology lays the mystery of 

your own erotic universe. Examine its uncharted secrets with the poetry of the 

mystic and the precision of the scientist; the sinister current adept is a 

meticulous cartographer of his or her sexual self. 

Sex Profane And Sacred 

We have also found that the most successful Western initiates of the left-hand 

path maintain a satisfying sexual existence independent of their sex-magical 

practice. This is only one of several reasons why we actively discourage 
magicians from transforming each and every sexual act into a ritual, and why 
we argue against attempting to use every orgasm she or he experiences in the 

course of daily life as a magical tool. Although this is a rather common 

practice among certain sex-magical schools and traditions, we have found that 

this overuse of sexual magic runs the risk of trivializing sex-magical work 

and diffusing the necessary supply of sexual energy fur any meaningful 


working. In reducing the powerful force that can be unleashed by sex magic 

to a commonplace occurrence, as routine as brushing one's teeth, one almost 

certainly lessens the potential usefulness of the act to the magician's goals. 

Just as importantly, by forcing every sexual encounter into the 

context of a magical working, the purely pleasurable, aesthetically pleasing 

and physically gratifying nature of profane erotic interaction as an experience 

worth enjoying fur its own intrinsic value is minimized. The sex magician 

should ideally approach sex and the erotic arts as possessing a beauty and 

power unto themselves, not only as a useful tool for magical work. To limit 

one's sexuality to sex magic alone would be akin to an artist that only used 

her eyes when engaged in creating artwork. Although a robust sexual desire is 

evidently a basic requirement for the effective orchestration of erotic sorcery, 

it cannot be stressed enough that sex magic should not be the only outlet for 

the satisfaction of your lust. The well-balanced sex magician should 
experience a rich and fulfilling erotic existence that is deliberately unrelated 

to one's strictly sex-magical workings. 

There is one very practical reason for this: unless you have a preexisting 

active sex life that more than adequately fulfills your psychic and 

physical erotic needs, chances are you probably won't achieve anything more 

magically profound than the physical release of orgasm while performing 
sexual magic. It should be noted that there are specific instances when the sex 

magician might find that a period of sexual abstinence is useful before 

commencing a working of sex magic, but this doesn't mitigate the importance 

of integrating sex magic into the larger context of a well-rounded erotic life. 

Another commonly beheld phenomenon motivates this 

recommendation. It is all too easy for sex magicians to delude themselves 

into interpreting every one of their sexual fantasies as magical and initiatory 

in nature. We have observed ludicrous attempts to justify what is basically 

only a wish to satiate a sexual attraction under the mysterious cloak of 

magical motivation. As we have made clear, sex magic does require the 

activation of strong desire to function, but one must he wise enough to be 

able to distinguish the sometimes subtle but nevertheless significant 

difference between an act of left-hand path erotic initiation and a good fuck. 

To confuse the two is to degrade the value of both expressions of Eros, each 

of them worthwhile in their own right. 

The Orgasm - Ten Seconds In Eternity 

To grasp the essentials of left-hand path operations, we must first cast a cold 

eye on the basic human sexual experience in general. Since all magic - 

including the magic that is channeled through the flesh - is primarily a 

phenomenon of the psyche, we are immediately compelled to ascertain what 

exactly goes on in the human psyche during sexual activity. While one must 


be extremely careful about making generalizations in a realm as personal as 

erotic experience, a few fundamental phenomena seem to be so widely 

prevalent that they provide us with a viable launching pad for our 


Your garden variety specimen of homo sapiens is likely to 

experience a fairly standard psychic response to the sexual act. Whether that 

act is consummated through masturbation, or sexual congress with one or 

more partners doesn't significantly affect the end result of most human sexual 

activity. During the various levels of excitation and physical exertion that 

ultimately conclude with the climax, the human being is typically rewarded 

by sexual pleasure with a profound moment of forgetting. In this sharp 
instance of temporary amnesia, awareness of the individual self is briefly but 

intensely obliterated. All mindfulness of the existence of the psyche as an 

independent agent and determinant of consciousness is temporarily wiped out 

by the waves of pleasure that culminate in the orgasm. 

Since the keen awareness of the psyche's solitude is something that 

most human beings find rather uncomfortable to bear, the attainment of the 

transitory brain chemistry alteration which orgasm allows is effectively used 

as a tranquilizing drug, a means to numb individual consciousness. For 

human beings who actively seek to forget themselves as much as possible, 

sex is just one of many tools available to distract the self from the self. 

Watching television, reading books, imbibing sedating chemical substances 

and any number of other trance-inducing techniques can be used to this end, 

but sex certainly provides one of the most intense feelings of psychic relief 

from the encumbrance of individual consciousness. 

Thankfully, not all human beings reduce the keen pleasures of Eros 

into the dreary numbing of consciousness we describe above. There are those 

sensual connoisseurs who do approach sexuality in an alert and purposeful 

manner, although they might never consider themselves to be sex magicians. 

The magician of the sinister current, in opposition to this general human 

drive to divert the attention from the psyche, strives not to forget. This is the 

first essential characteristic of left-hand path sex magic, and it is so important 

to the successful praxis of the art that we will be compelled to repeat it in 

other contexts. 

Going against the normative human urge to lose one's self in an 

undifferentiated flow of sensation during the sex act, the left-hand path sex 

magician consciously utilizes the powerful physiological and psychic 

energies unleashed by eroticism to attain an even sharper perception of the 

many selves for very specific magical and initiatory purposes. Even at the 

moment of orgasm, which is often a time in which the psyche shuts down 

altogether in the swoon of bliss, the sex magician of the sinister current 

focuses sharply on sorcerous and/or self-transformative desires. To 


accomplish this singular state of mind while the body undergoes the ecstasy 

of sexual climax is a skill that does not come naturally but must be 

deliberately acquired through practice and discipline. 

As we have already established, the left-hand path is consistently 

fueled by the breaking of natural instincts, the yoking of instinctive 

biological urges to the magician's will. It is sometimes incorrectly assumed 

that sex magic consists of nothing more than the spiritualization of the 

everyday sexual functions, and that the only skill required to perform this art 

is the ability to experience normal sexuality. If that were so, almost every 

human being would be a born sex magician, and no training or aptitude 

would be required. The significant point here is that the sex magician must 

develop a reliable ability to exercise mental control and concentration during 

erotic activities that would usually distract the practitioner utterly from any 

goal but the attainment of physical pleasure. 

The reader who has never previously experimented with sexual 

magic may assume then that such a practice would rob sexuality of all of its 

pleasure. In fact, the opposite is the case; the retaining of self-awareness 

during the sexual act greatly increases erotic pleasure, which in turn provides 

the magician with more energy for magical use. As we shall see, the effective 

practice of erotic magic requires the magician to build up a state of energized 

lust far beyond what is normally required to stimulate a simple orgasm. 

If sexual pleasure for the left-hand path sex magician is not a means 

of momentarily losing one's psyche in sensation or of blending one's psyche 

with one's lover, as it is can generally be described for most human beings, 

what indeed is it? Fundamentally, sex is viewed by the initiate as one of the 

most powerful and easily accessible altered states of consciousness available 

to creatures of the flesh. 

Indeed, the intense exultation of sexuality is very often the only 

transcendent experience most human beings will ever know. Some moralists 

will consider this observation to be a sad commentary on mankind's low level 

of spiritual attainment, but for the sex magician it is simply a neutral fact of 

some considerable relevance to understanding the erotic instinct and its 

perennial fascination. During the four basic phases of human sexual response, 

which can generally he broken down to (1.) excitement, (2.) intensification of 

sexual tension, (3.) orgasm, and (4.) resolution, the entire complex of body 

and mind is engaged in a process that allows a distinct transformation to 

occur. The sex magician does not merely passively experience these somatic 

changes, he or she takes control of these intense biological events and 

controls them for magical purposes. 

Although the sex magician can eventually learn to make magical use 

of his or her entire sexuality in an increasingly subtle fashion, eventually 

transcending the sexual climax altogether, the first magical weapon of use to 


the sex magician is the orgasm. Furthermore, it is important for male 

magicians to understand that the orgasm is not necessarily the same thing as 

the ejaculation. As we have already described, some of the most intense 

orgasms are experienced as whole-body events that produce no emission of 

semen. But before that realm can be entered, the first key to successful sex 

magic is developing the acquired skill of remaining fully alert and focused 

through the intensifying stages of sexual arousal and especially during the 

moment of your sexual climax. 

This training, which essentially fights the tendency to relax that the 

orgasm usually triggers, is best experimented with at first through 

masturbation, since nobody is as sensitive to your own idiosyncratic pattern 

of sexual response as you. Another advantage of beginning sex magical 

training with autoerotic practice is that even the most sympathetic sex partner 

can provide distraction from the work of coming to learn one's sex-magical 

capabilities. Gradually, the increased control over the altered state of orgasm 

can be extended into magically directed sex with a partner or partners. 

Magically speaking, the orgasm is best understood as a profound 

release of energy occurring during a transformed state of psychic awareness. 

The magician taps into this energy to effect transformations of his or her inner 

(subjective) world or outer (objective) world - remaining fully conscious of 

the hidden connections between these two seemingly divergent manifestations 

of maya. For the left-hand path magician, it is especially significant that this 

orgasmic energy is generated from within the very body of the magician, 

rather than from an external source. It is also very useful that the orgasm in 

both males and females produces a physical manifestation in the form of 

sexual fluids, since these fluids can be utilized by the magician as an organic 

symbol of the magical desire at hand, as we have already described in the 

historical tradition of the left-hand path. 

The moment of orgasm is of importance magically as a clear 

demarcation point, a liminal experience denoting the end of a deliberate 

build-up of energy. By concentrating one's focus on the realization of the 

magical goal at this zenith of sexual arousal, the magician has a clear and 

dramatic physical target upon which to fix his or her attention. Almost all of 

the established